PATH is convening a new biennial scientific conference series focused on making vaccines for Shigella and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), two leading causes of diarrheal disease, a reality for children in the developing world. The inaugural Vaccines Against Shigella and ETEC (VASE) Conference will be held June 28 to 30, 2016, in Washington, DC. In order to make this conference as accessible as possible, there is no cost to register to attend and a limited number of travel grants are available.
The VASE Conference will bring together scientists, public health professionals, immunization leaders, vaccine industry representatives, international donors, and other experts from across the globe to work toward the goal of developing and introducing new enteric vaccines. Conference participants will share and discuss various research topics and ideas about vaccines that address human enteric diseases. PATH intends for this meeting to provide a highly collaborative, interactive environment that will spark innovation in the field and boost the momentum for Shigella and ETEC vaccine research and development.
PATH is currently accepting abstracts of original work for presentation at the conference. The deadline for abstract submissions is March 1, 2016. While the primary focus of the conference is on Shigella and ETEC, there are also many other enteric diseases emerging as important causes of illness and death among infants and children in the developing world. For this reason, PATH aims to include broader work on other pathogens in the conference program, so that the field can learn from work across the spectrum of neglected enteric diseases.
Each year, nearly 600,000 children younger than five years of age die from severe, dehydrating diarrhea and dysentery worldwide, and millions more are hospitalized, mostly in low-resource countries. In addition, many more children suffer from diarrheal disease-associated malnutrition and its adverse effects on physical and cognitive development that perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Insufficient data exist, but conservative estimates suggest that Shigella and ETEC are responsible for almost one-third of child deaths from diarrhea, as well as many deaths in older age groups. Prevention through vaccination is a critical part of the strategy to reduce the impact of diarrheal disease, and currently there are no licensed vaccines against either pathogen.