The inaugural Courage Fund ID Conference kicked off yesterday evening with a series of plenary lectures at the Marina Mandarin Hotel in Singapore. This clinical and basic science infectious diseases conference is a first for Singapore in many ways:

Despite this being held on a late weekday evening, the turnout was pretty decent.

Panoramic view of the plenary session of the Courage Fund ID Conference Day 1
Panoramic view of the plenary session of the Courage Fund ID Conference Day 1

The first plenary was delivered by Prof Wang Linfa, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at Duke-NUS. He spoke about bats and their links to infectious diseases, of course.

Bats - by Prof Wang Linfa.
Bats – by Prof Wang Linfa.
A moment to reflect on SARS - which, 10 years after the epidemic, was postulated to have originated from horseshoe bats in China.
A moment to reflect on SARS – which, 10 years after the epidemic, was postulated to have originated from horseshoe bats in China.

The second plenary was delivered by Prof David Patterson from the University of Queensland, who spoke on the problem of Gram-negative bacterial resistance. Like many other speakers on this topic, including myself, he did not offer much hope.

Prof David Patterson displaying a slide with the old Australian $50 bill, which displays a portrait of Howard Florey, who developed penicillin.
Prof David Patterson displaying a slide with the old Australian $50 bill, which displays a portrait of Howard Florey, who developed penicillin.

Dr Kanta Subbarao from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, USA) delivered the last plenary on influenza viruses and vaccines – a far more positive topic. And the evening concluded with a dinner reception.

A promising start to the conference! The opening ceremony will take place this morning, and the main conference program today will deal with diverse topics such as malaria, emerging infectious diseases, bacterial genomic sequencing, novel vaccines and therapeutics, as well as dengue and chikungunya.

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