Meeting report: Global Alliance for Research on Avian Diseases 2018, International Conference, January 17 to 19, 2018, Hanoi, Vietnam

Poultry production is one of the fastest growing sectors of the livestock industry, growing at a rate of around 5% per year (2015-16) to meet the global demands and food security, as shown by European Union Open Data Portal. One of the major challenges for the sustainable growth of this sector comes from the plethora of diseases, including viral diseases, which have devastating effects on productivity. With a significant growth in poultry production in Asia, South America, and Africa, most of the disease challenges are in these regions. Because of the global nature of these diseases, it is of vital importance to work collaboratively to generate effective mitigation opportunities via innovative strategies. In the spirit of this international collaboration, the second International Conference of the Global Alliance for Research on Avian Diseases (GARAD) was held from January 17 to January 19, 2018, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The conference, attended by over 150 delegates from academia, poultry breeding/farming, and the pharmaceutic industry, discussed the major challenges and research advances related to the control of poultry diseases. The topics reviewed included the continuous threat from avian influenza and its antigenic shifts/drifts, the risks of disease transmission within and from live bird markets, the challenges from antigenic diversity of other avian viruses, innovative approaches for poultry vaccine development, and the potential opportunities to introduce genetic resistance to infectious agents through novel gene editing techniques. In separate interactive sessions, delegates actively debated the challenges, priorities, and opportunities for academia in driving avian disease research, the importance of developing improved disease measures by industry, and the contribution by the farming sector in the low- and middle-income countries.

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