Experts to meet in France for viral epidemic, pandemic conference

More than 900 experts and doctors from around the global will soon gather in Marseille, France, for the International Symposium on HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID).

The conference, which will tackle current major viral epidemics and pandemics, is held under the auspices of the French agency for AIDS and viral hepatitis research. The event will focus on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and the Marburg virus, as well as emerging viral threats such as MERS coronavirus, hepatitis E and new deadly flu strains.

"This meeting is a unique opportunity for doctors and researchers to share their work in order to find ways to end viral epidemics and pandemics with new therapeutic and preventive approaches," President of the ISHEID Alain Lafeuillade said.

More than 1,000 participants from 48 countries took part in the 2012 ISHEID and sponsors expected the 2014 event to attract more participants outside of the field of HIV research and therapy.

"It will be an outstanding meeting, with excellent media coverage," Lafeuillade said. "In 2014 viral diseases remain a major cause of death in the world, and new strains have the ability to kill millions of people if we do not control their spread. We have effective therapies for some viruses, though there are cost issues of course, but we are still unarmed against others. Uniting virologists, immunologists and medical doctors at the ISHEID is one of the most effective ways to move forward."