Indo-US conference on combating viral infections of brain

Kolkata, June 29 (IANS) Over 80 researchers from India and the US will discuss cutting edge research and exchange ideas in November in West Bengal to combat viral infections of the brain, against the backdrop of globalisation, immigration and the increasing incidences of such infections.

The ‘Indo-US Symposium on Central Nervous System Virus Infection and its Therapy’ will run from November 14-17 in Jalpaiguri in the hills of West Bengal.

“Lots of people die from meningitis and Japanese encephalitis, West Nile viral infection and other viral infections of the brain. Many harbour viruses in the brain and we may not even know about it,” organiser Jayasri Das Sarma, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata, told IANS.

“So it is very important to understand how the viruses enter the brain, reside and cause disruption of nerve cells and stay there without exhibiting any symptoms,” said Das of the Department of Biological Sciences.

While IISER-Kolkata is the host institution, the University of Iowa, USA and Banaras Hindu University are the collaborators in the joint effort.

Around 22 speakers from both countries (such as from IISc Bengaluru, National Institute of Immunology, Delhi, National Institute of Health and Johns Hopkins, US) are scheduled to share insights.

Participants include basic researchers, clinical scientists and graduate and post graduate students working in the areas of neurology, virology, neuropathology, neuroimmunology, neurochemistry and molecular virology.

Elaborating on the bilateral nature of the symposium, Das said given the US is “an immigration hub”, the spread of diseases globally is a key element in the conference.

“We are expecting positive outcomes from the conference through collaborations and student exchanges so that when challenges come we can address them together. The idea is to educate participants so that they can identify potential threats and raise timely alarms,” Das added.

–IANS

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