Advanced Diagnostics for Infectious Disease

Over the past decade, emerging threats have challenged our public health response systems around the world and brought into focus the limitations of both our current methods of detection and coordinated efforts to respond. Latest examples include the Zika and Ebola viruses that resulted in a drastic reduction in international travel and consequently had a severe economic impact. Traditional methods to diagnose a range of infectious diseases have been far too slow and cumbersome. The Third Annual Advanced Diagnostics for Infectious Disease conference will cover critical topics such as the improved methods for diagnosing, monitoring and managing infectious disease outbreaks and emerging pathogens.

Final Agenda



08:00 Registration and Morning Coffee

09:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

François Jean, Ph.D., Scientific Director, UBC Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER); Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia; Team Leader, NCE IC-IMPACTS Grant in Next Generation Molecular Diagnostics for Emerging Viral Diseases, Canada

09:10 OPENING KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Public Health Emergencies: The Interplay Between Lab, Surveillance and Public Health Response

Francesco Vairo, M.D., Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Disease Unit, National Institute for Infectious Diseases (INMI) "L.Spallanzani"

10:05 Circulating MicroRNAs and their Targets as Potential Biomarkers of Treatment-Based Viral Cure of Chronic Infection with Hepatitis C Virus

Francois_JeanFrançois Jean, Ph.D., Scientific Director, UBC Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER); Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia Team Leader, NCE IC-IMPACTS Grant in Next Generation Molecular Diagnostics for Emerging Viral Diseases, Canada

In this study we provide the first insights into a novel coordinated interplay between three important molecular players in lipid homeostasis— circulating microRNA (miR)-24 and miR-223 and PCSK9 — whose regulation are affected by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and treatment-based viral cure. In addition to represent potential biomarkers for treatment-based viral cure of chronic hepatitis C infection, circulating miR-24, miR-223 and PCSK9, may represent novel potential therapeutic targets to prevent HCV-associated liver disease progression.

10:35 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

11:15 Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight (MALDI-TOF) Mass Spectrometry Applied to Virus Identification

Adriana_CalderaroAdriana Calderaro, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Clinical Microbiology, Unit of Microbiology and Virology, Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University Hospital of Parma, Italy

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, a reliable identification method for the diagnosis of bacterial and fungal infections, was developed in this study as an innovative tool to identify human polioviruses and their specific protein to be used as biomarkers for serotyping; moreover, we created a protein profile library of cell cultures infected by the most common viruses causing infections of the respiratory tract in humans.

11:45 Circulating and Tissue Levels of miRNA in Infectious Diseases: Special Emphasis on HIV-Infection

Raphael Mohr, Ph.D., Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Bonn University Hospital, Germany

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs, which regulate the function of single genes and gene clusters. miRNA play a role in different cells and tissues. But they are also released passively though death damage and organ injury or even actively in specific conditions into the blood stream. Therefore, miRNA might serve as biomarkers for different conditions. We have analyzed several specific miRNA which play a role in the pathogenesis of liver injury associated with different viruses, not only in the tissue but also in the circulation.

CapitalBio Technology 12:15 Detection Methods of Infectious Diseases Based on Innovative Biochip Technology

Junquan_XuJunquan Xu, MS, MBA, CEO, CapitalBio Technology, China

Precision Medicine is considered as a tendency for medicine in the future. It requires the more rapid and accurate detection than the traditional ones. CapitalBio developed a series of kits based on biochip technology for rapid detection of TB, respiratory tract, Zika, HPV and help to make precision medicine possible.

 12:45 Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

13:15 Session Break


14:15 Chairperson’s Remarks

Till T. Bachmann, Ph.D., Reader, Personalised Medicine in Infectious Disease; Deputy Head, Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

14:20 The Development of a Point-of-Care Assay for HNL (Human Neutrophil Lipocalin) to be Used in the Specific and Rapid Distinction between Bacterial and Viral Infections

Per_VengePer Venge, Ph.D., Professor, Medical Sciences, University of Uppsala Hospital, Sweden

The distinction between bacterial and viral causes of acute infections is a major clinical challenge. Previous reports showed the superior diagnostic performance in this regard of serum measurements of HNL (Human Neutrophil Lipocalin). Serum measurement, however, is slow and we have therefore invented an alternative procedure suitable for the development of a rapid point-of-care application and show that this procedure has similar diagnostic performances and superior to any other biomarker such as CRP, procalcitonin and CD64.

14:50 ArcDia’s Groundbreaking Technology Enables World’s Fastest Phenotypic Antibiotic Resistance Testing

Janne_KoskinenJanne O. Koskinen, Ph.D., R&D Director, ArcDia International Oy Ltd, Finland

ArcDia’s proprietary technology allows sensitive immunoassays from miniature reaction volumes without separation steps. The binding reaction takes place on microparticles, which are detected by two-photon excitation fluorometry (TPX). In mariAST®, suspension culture is performed in the presence and absence of antimicrobials. Bacterial growth is monitored in real-time using pathogen-specific TPX detection. mariAST® allows phenotypic antimicrobial susceptibility testing of bacteria without pure culture directly from clinical samples in 3‒6 hours.

15:20 “The Power within Me”: Redefining the Set of Solutions for Antibiotics Misuse Using Host Response-Based Diagnostics

Kfir_OvedKfir Oved, Ph.D., Co-Founder & CTO, R&D, MeMed, Israel

A major driver of antibiotic misuse is the difficulty to clinically discriminate bacterial from viral infections. Antibiotics misuse leads to ineffective treatment, emergence of antibiotics resistance, and costs tens of billions of dollars annually. ImmunoXpert™ is a novel IVD that leverages the most accurate diagnostic system known to man, our immune system. The ImmunoXpert™ measures three immune biomarkers and integrates them using a proprietary software to accurately distinguish bacterial from viral infections, thus empowering physicians to reduce antibiotics misuse and improve patient management.

15:50 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

APPLYING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO CLINICAL CARE: What Is Needed to Make Them Useful Tools for the Virologist

16:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

My VT Phan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center

16:35 The Power of Molecular Viral Diagnostics in Clinical Medicine

Suzan_PasSuzan Pas, Ph.D., Team Lead, Molecular Diagnostics, Viroscience Department, Clinical Virology, Erasmus Medical Center, The Netherlands

Molecular diagnostics is one of the major techniques used in clinical virology nowadays. This lecture will focus on the challenges and power of this technique used in the past two decades in a reference laboratory during peace time and outbreaks like Ebola and Zika virus.

17:05 Congenital Tremor in Piglets and the Threat to Human Health

Lia_vanderHoekLia van der Hoek, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Microbiology, Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Center (AMC), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Congenital tremor type A-II is a shaking disease in newborn pigs, possibly caused by a very recently-described virus: atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV). We detected the virus by VIDISCA in several outbreaks in the Netherlands. To demonstrate a causal relationship between APPV and disease, gilts were experimentally infected during pregnancy and the litter inspected for disease. We investigated whether infections can give a risk to human health.

17:35 The Utility of Next-Generation Sequencing and Viral Phylogenetics for Outbreak Control

My VT Phan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center

Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) provides great sensitivity to detect and identify viral pathogens. We are working to develop open-access infrastructure and analytical tools to implement NGS in clinical and public health laboratories for virus discovery, virus transmission and outbreak investigations. I will provide examples of the utility of these methods for tracking viruses through populations.

18:00 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

19:00 Close of Day



08:00 Registration and Morning Coffee

09:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

Debrah Boeras, Ph.D., Scientist and Consultant, The Global Health Impact Group, LLC, United States

09:05 Early Warning Systems

Adriana Goncalves, Ph.D., Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

09:35 Innovation in Diagnostics: An Opportunity to Strengthen Health Systems and Combat Global Health Security

Rosanna_PeelingRosanna Peeling, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Diagnostic Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

Rapid advances in diagnostic innovation have been driven in recent years by the need for more accurate and accessible diagnostics for high burden diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis, global health emergencies such as Ebola and Zika, and the threat of antimicrobial resistance. Connectivity solutions linking data from diagnostic laboratories and POC test readers/devices provide opportunities for automated surveillance and quality assurance systems, increasing the efficiency of health care systems and improving patient outcomes.

10:05 Affordable HIV Drug-Resistance Testing for Monitoring of Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Wendy Stevens, MBBch, MMed, FCPath, Professor and Head, Molecular Medicine and Haematology; Head of National Priority Programs, National Health Laboratory Service, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Increased provision of antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa has led to a growing number of patients with therapy failure and acquired drug-resistant HIV, driving the demand for more costly further lines of antiretroviral therapy. In conjunction with accelerated access to viral load monitoring, feasible and affordable technologies to detect drug-resistant HIV could help maximise the durability and rational use of available drug regimens. Potential low-cost technologies include in-house Sanger and next-generation sequencing in centralised laboratories, and point mutation assays and genotype-free systems that predict response to antiretroviral therapy at point-of-care.

10:35 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

11:05 Methods, Metrics & Quality in Dx: Quoid Neuf?

Nikita_Pant_PaiNitika Pant Pai, M.D., MPH., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Medicine, Divisions of Clinical Epidemiology & Infectious Diseases, McGill University, Canada

In this talk, I will discuss methods, metrics and quality, of studies reported in the HIV Dx space and review reporting key quality parameters in acute HIV infection. The talk is targeted to physicians, and public health care professionals who wish to design their studies, critique and review evidence, formulate guidelines so as to eventually impact the Dx and Rx care continuum.

11:35 Expert Panel with Speakers

12:05 Close of Advanced Diagnostics for Infectious Disease