On fourth of July weekend, leading virologists, immunologists, scientists and clinicians came together in Keystone Colorado at Keystone Symposia's joint meetings on Viral Immunity and Respiratory Viruses to discuss the latest advances in our understanding of COVID-19 and other viral threats. They discussed emerging and unpublished research on disease pathology, immunological mechanisms and more. Among attendees were editors from leading journals, looking for emerging research discoveries and directions. Here we catch up with the editors to find out what they think about the hottest topics in these areas... Read on below for their insights!
Missed the meeting? Not to worry-- session recordings are now available forON DEMAND viewing at home!
Case Western Reserve University; Editor in chief – Pathogens and Immunity
Just returned from the Keystone Symposium Viral Immunity: Basic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Applications. It wasn't exactly my field but I knew most of the words and the presentations were just spectacular. And few things are more engaging than walking around the poster sessions with a cool refreshing beverage in hand.
At the meeting, most impressive to me was the quality of the presentations, the incredibly effective use of state-of-the-art technologies and the elegance with which mechanisms of disease and protection were better revealed.
I think David Ives called it right: “It’s all in the timing”. Some countries like the U.K. leaped into the breach with rapid design and implementation of infrastructure and the agreement to multisite collaboration for cohorts to accumulate data, samples and understanding. Timing is also key to host defense; a rapid innate response looks to protect, pre-existent neutralizing Abs protect but I’m still not sure whether later, local T cell responses reflect pathogenesis or contribute to it, to what degree these cellular antiviral responses contribute to viral clearance and what the best balance of these effector mechanisms is. Timing is also key to early warning; it’s clear that we in the US should have done better early on with COVID but I’m still not persuaded that we’re adequately prepared for the next wave(s) of respiratory viruses or other pathogens who are just waiting for their chance. To my eye, our national system for sentinel surveillance whether in the clinic setting or in places like waste-water is not yet up to the task. And if Americans have learned anything from the dysfunctional political leadership we had when COVID hit us in 2020, it’s an unhealthy skepticism about science and uncertainty about whom to trust.
The robust interactions among established faculty and younger researchers showed why these meetings are such great places for trainees to attend and present. I was thrilled to see that more than half the attendees were women. Great job Keystone – but the skiing was terrible!
Gaia Trincucci, PhD
Senior Scientific Editor, JEM
I had the opportunity to attend the joint meetings Respiratory Viruses: New Frontiers and Viral Immunity: Basic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Applications last June on behalf of Journal of Experimental Medicine.
The two meetings offered an excellent mix between basic and translational science. Sessions were well balanced and allowed many early career scientists to present their unpublished work. It was quite challenging to decide which sessions of the two meetings to follow, considering the high quality of the speakers.
SARS-CoV-2 has dominated the field in the last two year. I appreciated talks discussing the latest strategies to develop vaccines and therapeutics against both SARS-COV-2 variants of concern and zoonotic sarbecoviruses. It was quite refreshing, though, that the joint meetings covered topics beyond SARS-CoV-2, including HIV, influenza HSV-1 and more.
The conference offered many opportunities for networking during the breaks and at the poster sessions. It was great to interact with such a vibrant community of scientists and I look forward to the next respiratory viruses/viral immunity conference!
Shannon Weiman earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, specializing in microbiology and immunology. Prior to joining the Keystone Symposia team, she worked as a freelance writer for leaders in academic, industry and government research, including Stanford University’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative, the University of Colorado’s Biofrontiers Program, UCSF, the FDA and the American Society for Microbiology.