Manipal Institute of Virology observes World Flu Day

 Manipal Institute of Virology observes World Flu Day
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Manipal, Nov 03, 2022: Manipal Institute of Virology (MIV), MAHE organized an international webinar and quiz competition as part of World Flu Day on Nov 2.

The theme for the World Flu Day quiz competition was “Influenza: An Evolving Challenge.” The aim of the quiz competition was to create influenza awareness and its impact on public health. Ten groups of undergraduate or postgraduate students from various institutions including Yenepoya Medical College (Mangaluru), Kasturba Medical College (Mangaluru), Manipal Institute of Virology (Manipal), Manipal College of Nursing (Manipal) participated in the quiz competition.

The host Kavitha Karunakaran along with the Quiz Masters Prachi Malasane and Arunava Choudhury held the proceedings of the quiz competition.

The quiz competition was followed by an international webinar featuring guest lectures by scientists and investigators from across the globe. Dr. Anitha J as moderator initiated the webinar by addressing the dignitaries, speakers and all the participants, briefing about the theme and the significance of World Flu Day.

Dr. Chiranjay Mukhopadhyay, Director, Manipal Institute of Virology, welcomed the guest and participants.

He spoke about the historical background of “Spanish flu”, prevention and control of Influenza. He mentioned the collaborations of MIV with national and international organizations as part of an ongoing project and touched upon awareness programs that can enlighten the general public about the need for preventive measures with respect to the disease.

In his keynote address, Dr. Anand Venugopal, Chief Operating Officer, MAHE emphasizing the importance of influenza awareness programs and initiatives.

He covered the aspects of surveillance, prevention, and treatment and also portrayed the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and Influenza, as well as how the other diseases were neglected due to the current pandemic. He emphasized on improving communication among clinicians and researchers to plan better strategies for diagnosis, treatment, and patient care.

The webinar’s featured presentations focused on influenza surveillance, epidemiology, control, and prevention of influenza. Dr. Chakshushmathi Gadhiyaram, Head, Pre-clinical R&D, Mynvax private Ltd. Bangalore gave a talk on “Influenza surveillance and pandemic preparedness.” She elaborated on antigenic variability and capacity of influenza virus to evade the host immune system. She also emphasized on centralized universal surveillance by WHO, which is helpful for the timely and effective prevention of disease burden.

The next speaker, Dr. S. Nagarajan, Principal Scientist, ICAR-National Institute of High-security Animal Disease, Bhopal, delivered a talk on “Epidemiology of influenza viruses in animals and birds.
Dr. Nagarajan discussed the avian and swine influenza origin in the human population. He also provided insights into the genetic evolution of the various influenza viruses as well as the phylogenetic relationships of various influenza viruses isolated in India and neighboring countries. He also discussed the recent outbreaks and the risk factors for transmission.

The talk on “Biologics to control influenza: what works and is it affordable?” was delivered by Prof. Dr. Xavier Saelens, Principal investigator, VIB-UGent Center for medical Biotechnology, Belgium. He emphasized alternative treatment strategies such as the use of convalescent serum and monoclonal antibodies to reduce the disease severity and hospitalization due to influenza. He gave insights about the monoclonal antibodies developed against a conserved region of influenza as a potential cost-effective therapy.

The final speaker of the day, Prof. Dr. Raghavan Varadarajan, Professor, Molecular Biophysics Unit, IISc, Bangalore delivered a talk on “Design of improved vaccine formulations.” Dr. Raghavan discussed the various Hemagglutinin-based candidate vaccines developed in collaboration with Mynvax Private Ltd. Bangalore.

Dr. Piya Paul Mudgal, Associate Professor, Manipal Institute of Virology, MAHE, Manipal concluded the webinar with the vote of thanks and Dr. Anitha J, Assistant Professor, MIV, compered the program.
Over 160 participants across the globe participated in the webinar.

World flu day was initiated in 2018 at the Asian-Pacific Centenary Spanish 1918-Flu Symposium to commemorate the 100 years of the Spanish Flu Pandemic.

The major purposes of World Flu Day are to memorialize the centenary of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic; to raise public awareness of influenza; to accelerate scientific innovation and basic research efforts towards remaining challenges of influenza, particularly the development of a universal flu vaccine; and to push for stronger global political will in continuing the support of influenza prevention and control.

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