25th International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) held in Liverpool from 16 to 20 August 2015.
DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES / Veterinary Protozoology Unit
Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
The international conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) occurs biennially and gathers experts from all over the world to discuss the latest discoveries and progresses in the field of veterinary parasitology. The 25th international WAAVP meeting took place in Liverpool, and with around 800 participants. Veterinarians, biologists, field workers, and anyone involved to a certain extent in the field of veterinary parasitology took part in this meeting, which allowed great multidisciplinary interactions among participants. Five concurrent sessions were held for four days covering various topics such as drug resistance, prevention, epidemiology, climate change, genomics, vaccines and immunology. It was really interesting to move from one session to another to explore the advancements of the different fields of veterinary parasitology. However, the main focus of this year’s meeting was drug resistance to helminth and protozoan infections in livestock, and how new technologies and scientific novelties could be applied to circumvent the acquisition of such resistance.
I had the great honor and privilege to give two oral presentations at this important meeting. The first talk focused on the molecular and genetic basis of drug resistance in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma congolense. The second presentation focused on genetic diversity in the natural Trypanosoma congolense population. Both presentations received positive feedbacks, and were the start of long and stimulating discussions, especially regarding the problems associated to drug resistance. It was really interesting to exchange ideas with scientists, but also veterinarians, local rangers, or drug developers who all see the current situation from a different point of view and have their own initiatives to try to control the pathology. A new treatment is currently under trial, and a lot of effort is made in the field to prevent the spread of the disease. Nevertheless, Animal African Trypanosomiasis still represent a big threat in the affected countries and requires further investigations. Important findings were exchanged during this meeting, and a collaboration was initiated with a group from Germany that also focuses on population genetics and drug resistance in T. congolense.
Overall, I found that attending the WAAVP international conference was both a beneficial and challenging experience for me.