Africa plans to ‘galvanise the best minds on the continent and grow new minds’ in the field of immunology ahead of the International Congress on Immunology in South Africa in 2022.

The congress is expected to attracted 6,000 delegates to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). It will be the first time the event has been held in Africa, and is particularly relevant to the host country. Human infectious diseases are a high-priority area for South Africa and Africa, where they continue to be a leading cause of childhood and adult morbidity and mortality.

The field of immunology delivers advances in basic and clinical research that affect the lives of billions worldwide. The field is driving breakthroughs that promise to revolutionise vaccines, treatments for cancer, autoimmunity, allergy and immune deficiencies, and to improve the outcomes of transplantation.

Cape Town’s bid was led by South African Immunology Society president and professor of Immunology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Clive Gray, and Federation of African Immunology Societies secretary general, Faith Osier.

Osier said: “It’s time for Africa! Our continent has numerous challenges but is also making incredible progress. The congress will leave a lasting legacy centred on scientific innovation that will spur on the next generation.”

Gray added: “Our task will be to build a pre-conference legacy over the next six years by galvanising the best minds on the continent and growing new minds to become part of the global immunology community. In 2022, we want to bring the world’s best and most exciting immunologists to Cape Town and task them to put their minds to the infectious disease burden in Africa and translate immunology to human health.”

CTICC Chief Executive Officer Julie-May Ellingson noted that the healthcare and medical sectors are well-represented in the convention centre’s bookings, which “reflects Cape Town’s growing profile as an academic and research hub”. These conferences are recognised not only for their economic value, but for the wider health and social benefits for the local community.

In December the CTICC hosted the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health, providing a valuable platform for knowledge-sharing within Africa on the inter-relatedness of tuberculosis, HIV and lung disease,  while renewing efforts to control tobacco consumption. The World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC) also comes to the CTICC and the African continent for the first time, in 2020, bringing an estimated 15,000 delegates – and an unprecedented opportunity for African ophthalmologists to learn from the world’s leading eye care specialists.

Dr Melinda Suchard, Vice-President of the South African Immunology Society and Head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases added that she hoped that the 2022 International Congress on Immunology will “better translate mechanistic research into real world vaccines and drugs sorely needed for diseases of public health importance”.

(via AMI and EXSA)


Featured image: Host venue, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)