Happy New Year 2020! The Officers and Executive Board thank the members of the International Society for Vaccines (ISV) for supporting the Society on a successful 2019. The 2019 ISV Annual Congress took place on October 26-29 in Ghent, Belgium. There was a 25% increase in submitted abstracts with 260 abstracts accepted from the 400 total attendees. We thank the Sponsors and Partners that supported the 2019 ISV Congress, in particular the Gates Foundation for providing travel scholarships from low and middle income countries to attend the Congress.
In December 2019, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organization declaration of the eradication of smallpox. While elimination of smallpox from the human population was one of the greatest achievements for vaccines and vaccination, there are many challenges ahead for effective vaccine development to be addressed in 2020. Polio eradication has been on the list of targeted diseases for elimination for decades. The poliovirus still circulates in pockets of the world, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, where children are still being paralyzed. Dengue fever is another disease that effects 100 million people living in tropical areas where dengue viruses are easily transmitted by mosquitos. Concerns are that children, not pre-immune to dengue, vaccinated with a live-attenuated dengue virus, that vaccination would act like a first infection and result in enhanced disease when the child was infected with the real virus. While two vaccine companies have tested new dengue vaccines in the last 2 years, early results have indicated that vaccinated children may have complications to the vaccine, but the vaccine appears effective in adults. 2020 will bring new dengue vaccines to clinical trials that may overcome these issues in children.
As vaccine researchers develop the next generation of effective vaccines, ISV is there to support these pioneers that bring new vaccines to the market, as well as supporting the next-generation of young vaccine researchers. As stated in the published article by Doolan and Lu, Hum Vacc Immunother; 2018; 14(9): 2101-2104: “The ISV is a global not-for-profit organization that aims to encourage, establish and promote the development and use of vaccines to prevent and control infectious and non-infectious diseases in humans and animals”. ISV members hail from 45 different countries. Since 2008, ~700 individuals have been members of ISV. There are 150 members with expiration dates of 12/31/2019. Remember to renew your membership for 2020!
We were pleased to have a number of dedicated ISV members volunteer to serve on ISV Committees and Board members. As in the past, nominations for ISV Board Members were solicited two months ahead of the Annual General Meeting through the ISV newsletter and emails to the ISV mailing list. The new ISV Board, which is listed on the ISV website, will serve during the 2020-2021 term. We are looking for new members for the Outreach Committee. This committee oversees the paper of the month and paper of the year nominations, as well as social media and other outreach activities for ISV. The time commitment is minimum, so if you are interested, please send an email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), Cindi Callaghan (CindiCallaghan@isv-online.org), or Lenny Moise (email@example.com), current head of the Outreach Committee. We are looking for 5 new members to join some of our current committee members. Volunteer and join us on one of our committees!
ISV will host the 2020 ISV Annual Congress in Québec City, Canada on 10-13 October 2020. The Annual Congress will provide a forum for presentations by leaders in the vaccine field and allow many opportunities for oral and poster presentations from junior scientists and researchers. The Congress in Québec City will be the 14th time that ISV has hosted this Annual Congress that will be led by co-Chairs, Dr. Linda Klavinskis from Kings College London in the UK and Dr. Joon Haeng Rhee from Chonnam National University Medical School in South Korea. The ISV co-Chairs will be joined by Local co-Chair, Dr. Gary Kobinger, from Laval University.
ISV is a strong and growing organization that is built upon the support of its membership. We look forward to hearing and working with you in 2020 to continue to the support of vaccines and the vaccine community. Send me your ideas for what you would like to see ISV take-on in 2020.
Ted Ross, President (2020-2021)