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International Conference on Viral Hepatitis:Past Accomplishments and Unfulfilled Quests

ICE    Public:ICE    Datetime:2009/4/9
The International Conference on Viral Hepatitis:Past Accomplishments and Unfulfilled Quests, ICVH2008, was held in Xiamen from April 15th to 17th, 2008. The conference was co-hosted by Xiamen University, the China National Center of Biological Development and the Fujian Provincial Department of Science & Technology, and organised by the Bureau of Science & Technology and the National Institute of Diagnostics and Vaccine Development in Infectious Diseases. Prof. Harvey J. Alter, of the U.S National Academy of Sciences was invited to chair the conference, at which renowned experts in viral hepatitis diagnosis and prevention from both home and abroad gave papers.

The conference covered a number of themes: 1) reflections on major achievements and discoveries concerning hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E; 2) major achievements in the development and application of hepatitis A vaccine,plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine and recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and problems emerging therefrom; 3) the development of hepatitis E vaccine; 4) discussion of the epidemic tendency of various viral strains of hepatitis and challenges posed in both fundamental research and research into treatments, and how to overcome them.

Invited to the conference were a number of internationallyrenowned scientists who are leaders in the fight against viral hepatitis, and who have contributed greatly to the prevention and control of hepatitis. Their contributions included: the identification of the various strains of hepatitis virus; the development of hepatitis A vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine and the initiation of safety measures for blood transfusions. Those glorious developments in the history of medical science have made a tremendous contribution to the efficient control of hepatitis.

China is one of the countries with the highest incidence of viral hepatitis, with 1.6 million new cases reported in 2007 alone. The Chinese government has always taken it as a major task for China´s medical science to promote research into the prevention and control of viral hepatitis and application of preventative measures. Decades of effort have resulted in significant achievements. The number of hepatitis B virus-carriers and incidences of hepatitis A have dropped continuously over recent years. Hepatitis B vaccination was included in the national immunisation programme in 2002, followed by hepatitis A vaccination in 2007. Those measures alone can prevent over 1 million children from becoming infected every year. Tests for hepatitis B and hepatitis E in donated blood and blood products can cut as many as 300 to 500 cases of hepatitis per year.

The conference provided a valuable opportunity for the scientists working in the field of hepatitis research to reflect upon the forty-odd years´ of competing hepatitis research programmes since 1965, and to discuss the great challenges which still confront us and seek paths towards further breakthroughs. The achievements of this conference have a potentially vital influence on medical policy-making, the training of medical specialists, and the development of the bio-medicines industry, not only in China, but also worldwide.

Xiamen University received the approval of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People´s Republic of China to establish National Institute of Diagnostics and Vaccine Development in Infectious Diseases in December, 2005. It is one of China´s leading institutions in the fields of epidemic disease diagnosis, preventative research and the application of research results. The institution is active within international co-operation. It has established close relations with leading international laboratories carrying out fundamental research into viral hepatitis, studies of preventative techniques and research into preventative products like diagnostic reagents, vaccines and medicines. It also co-operates closely with key domestic research institutions, clinical epidemic prevention organisations, and bio-pharmaceutical companies.

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