The 14th double stranded RNA symposium in Banff, Alberta, Canada

The International double-stranded ribosomal nucleic acid (dsRNA) virus symposium, is one of the most important meetings for virologists studying viruses that harbor a dsRNA viral genome. It brings together global investigators from reputable institutions who work on dsRNA viruses, and provides an opportunity for dissemination of research findings, initiating collaborative ventures and planning new collaborations. On the 10 – 14 October 2022, two members of the UFS-NGS Unit, Prof. Martin Nyaga and Dr. Peter Mwangi attended the dsRNA conference held in Banff, Alberta, Canada. They got to disseminate research findings titled: “African enteric viruses genome initiative analysis of G1P[8] and G2P[4] rotavirus strains at whole genome level over a period of 14 years pre- and post-vaccination introduction periods in South Africa” and “Whole genome analysis of Zambian G2P[4] strains pre- and post-rotavirus vaccine introduction”, respectively.

Other teams from Africa that attended the symposium included: Prof. Trudi O’Neills team (Bonang Mochochoko and Wico Sander), Dr. Jere Khuzwayo’s team (Jonathan Mandolo (oral presentation) and Malamba-Banda Chikondi) and Prof. Alberdina van Dijk’s team (whereby Pierre le Roux won a merit poster award).

There were notable presentations at the conference from: Carl Kirkwood (whose presentation paid tribute to the work of late Ruth Bishop in rotavirus research), Harry Greenberg (Recent advances in immune mechanisms against rotavirus), Jacqueline Tate (Global rotavirus vaccine introduction and impact), John Patton (Boundless flexibility of the rotavirus genome), Asha Philip (Development of a reverse genetics system for the Rotarix G1P[8] rotavirus strain RIX4414 advances the development of next-generation combination vaccines) among many other astounding presentations.

From left to right:  Jelle Matthijnssens (KU Leuven, Belgium), Martin Nyaga (University of the Free State- Next Generation Sequencing Unit, South Africa), Velasquez-Portocarrero Daniel (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA),  Peter Mwangi (University of the Free State- Next Generation Sequencing Unit, South Africa ), Joyce Michael (University of Alberta, Canada) and Mathew Esona (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA)
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Duncan