In addition to the ordinary sessions, the current programme also includes three workshops. The aim is to focus on some selected scientific issues. Each workshop contains a number of comprehensive presentations followed by a panel discussion.
The overall goal of the workshop “New approaches for the development of medical countermeasures” is to illustrate how rational approaches to design bioactive substances can be applied in research and development for improved protection to potential chemical and biological warfare agents. The presentations exemplify how high-through put screening is translated into research and development for protection against biological and chemical agents, respectively. Also, they comprise research on specific interactions of chemical compounds with cell surface receptors that can be applied in development of novel neuroprotective pharmaceuticals, and comprehensive studies on the structure-function relationship of clostridial neurotoxins as an approach for the development of future protection concepts.
The objective of the workshop “Molecular typing and whole genome sequencing in epidemiology and bioforensics” is to exemplify the application and new opportunities that emerging technologies such as high resolution molecular typing and whole genome sequencing in both molecular epidemiology and microbial forensics will offer for facilitating different investigatory questions. The workshop includes molecular characterization of Clostridia producing neurotoxins, to be used for forensics purposes, the status quo and way ahead related to typing of the Q-fever agent Coxiella burnetii, whole-genome sequencing of Francisella tularensis for forensic and epidemiological investigations, and the tracking of L. pneumophila at an industrial chemical plant - the source of three Legionellosis outbreaks.
The aim of the workshop “Chemical analysis of CWA exposure markers” is to highlight and exemplify ongoing research issues concerning methodology for analysis of chemical warfare agents exposure markers as well as the evaluation of such analytical data. The presentations address the OPCW’s programme for biomedical sample analysis, verification of CWA- and pesticide-exposure by analysis of protein adducts, GC-MS analysis of nerve agent markers in urine samples, ricinine levels in serum and urine after intoxication, criteria for identification of CWA biomarkers in biomedical samples and quality issues concerning these types of analysis.