There are two main aspects to virology as it is practised in Europe. First is basic science, whereby the structure, genomic organisation, replication strategies, life cycle, antigenic structure and virus-cell interaction is studied. The second is clinical; this includes diagnosis, vaccine policy implementation and antiviral therapy. The main focus of European Virology 2000 (EV2000) is to bring these two aspects together. Often virologists from these two aspects don't interact sufficiently. The cost- effective design of new vaccines, the understanding of the immune response against viruses, the effect of viruses on humans, the development of new diagnostic reagents and approaches and implementation of disease management protocols require both aspects. All of these will be covered in the conference. Because virology crosses many skill boundaries, such as macromolecular structure, immunology, diagnostics, molecular biology, vaccination and infectious diseases, it has remained an active area of research. The interaction between both areas is critical to industry, because pharmaceutical or diagnostic products can only be discovered if basic science is applied to clinical problems.
EV2000 began as the 4th meeting of the European Society of Clinical Virology, but the Society for General Microbiology (UK) and the German speaking basic virology society (GfV) meet at around the same time of year. Once these three agreed to merge their meetings, the next step was to get some 20 European organisations to agree to support the meeting (see www.euro-virology.com for the full listing and their web pages). This is thus the first meeting of its kind and, if successful, the next is planned in 2004 in Spain. On each day, plenary sessions (invited speakers) will be followed by dedicated poster sessions, a 30-minute poster review by an international authority, and finally three parallel workshops to study specific subjects in depth. The driving concept is a meeting with a low registration fee, the involvement of all of Europe (the American Society for Virology has a similar meeting) with an excellent scientific programme, a superb venue.