International Conference on Scientific Insight and Response of Ebola Virus Disease

The largest outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that was ever reported in the history has been attacking the West Africa since December of 2013. Multiple outbreaks in the affected countries were occurring against a backdrop of compromised health systems, urbanized settings, histories ravaged by civil war, cultural practices and rampant fear of this deadly disease never before seen on this side of Africa. Countries are struggling to control this unprecedented crisis, the complexity of which is seen in the intensive case numbers and deaths from this virus.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented in its scope, severity and complexity. On 8 August, under IHR (2005), WHO declared this EVD outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In response to the extraordinary situation, an UN mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has also been launched in mid-September 2014. The tremendous human and other resources from international societies have been deployed to support the global response to Ebola. As one of the major contributors, Chinese government has deployed more than 700 medical and public health officers to support the response actions in the affected countries, and also donated/pledged a total amount of $123 million.

As we move into the second year of the epidemic in West Africa, Ebola still presents a huge challenge to global public health and security. Majority of unaffected countries have strengthened their preparedness efforts on the existing surveillance systems, laboratory testing capacity, infection prevention and control practices, travel-related measures and risk communication. In response to the crisis, scientists worldwide have speeded up their research efforts to test new vaccines and therapeutics for prevention and treatment of Ebola infection, and to develop new diagnostic tools for better detection of the virus. At this point, a comprehensive scientific review to update the knowledge and understanding on Ebola virus and its disease based on the available evidence and lessons learnt from the epidemic response is urgently needed and will be critical to assist unaffected countries in further enhancing the preparedness level.

To facilitate this technical exchange, China CDC, in collaboration with the Pasteur Institute of France and Fondation Mérieux will organize an international conference on EVD along with the world renowned experts from field emergency responding, Ebola research, and public health practitioners to provide varied updates and disseminate the achievements made so far on Ebola research. The conference is co-sponsored by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of P. R. China and World Health Organization.