In Katoomba (Australia) at the moment for a virus conference.
Katoomba is rather a stunning place with outrageous views. I have done a couple of early morning runs along the clifftops, which have been amongst the best I have ever done anywhere in the world. I would recommend this place for a visit to anyone who is visiting the Sydney region.
And what about the virology..?
The talks so far have generally been very good, and I will detail a couple of them in the next few weeks, but I have “taken home” a couple of things from the conference to date.
- Clinical Virology has come a long way in the past 20 years. From the number of viruses that can now be diagnosed in real-time, the number of viral vaccines available, and the range of viruses which can be treated with effective anti-virals… Things have really moved on fast since when I was at medical school in the early 90s when virology was a relatively small sub-specialty compared with bacteriology, with retrospective diagnoses and few anti-viral options. Now virology stands right alongside bacteriology and there is every possibility it could move on past it. Given this, I have made a mental note to try and get to a virology conference on an annual basis to keep up to date with progress.
- In the research setting and in large clinical centres, multiplex viral assays are now commonplace for the laboratory diagnosis of viral infection in a number of different systems; respiratory, gastro-intestinal, and CSF being the predominant ones. These multi-plexes are not of exorbitant cost. However if samples from every patient presenting with an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection or Gastroenteritis were tested with a viral multiplex PCR the additive cost may soon become prohibitive… I thus see the importance of laboratories of developing “testing criteria” for each of these viral multiplex PCRs so that they can be used on the patients who most need them and where they are going to make most difference to the eventual clinical outcome. I resolve to make this a focus of my work over the next couple of years.
Coffee break finished. Back to the conference…..