From Yellow fever to Zika: Global threats caused by flaviviruses : 6th Loeffler Lecture 2017 in Greifswald with Prof. Franz X. Heinz, PhD
On June 7, 2017 the already 6th Loeffler Lecture was held in Greifswald. This lecture honors scientists for outstanding contributions to the field of virology. Franz X. Heinz, virologist at the Medical University of Vienna and international specialist for flaviviruses, continues the series of world-renowned scientists. In his honorary lecture he explained how devastating flaviviruses such as yellow fever, Dengue or Zika virus have been able to spread so successfully, how civil wars and slave trade have contributed to the spread of these pathogens and how Zika virus was detected unexpectedly in a yellow fever research station. The fact that many flaviviruses are transmitted by biting midges undoubtedly is one of the most significant findings in research on these dangerous pathogens. Thus, the development of innovative concepts for control of the Asian tiger mosquito as transmitter of disease and strategies to prevent their further establishment is the main goal of research. This also includes the development of novel vaccines against flaviviruses. Franz X. Heinz ended his special lecture with the words „Do not think we already have achieved a lot, we are still at the beginning.“ opening the discussion for the auditorium in the lecture hall of the Alfried Krupp Kolleg. The audience also included Peter Georg Loeffler, grandson of Friedrich Loeffler, and his wife. As host of the lecture Prof. Thomas C. Mettenleiter asked the probably most burning question: „Can you as an Austrian tell me, why I am able to pass the border from Austria to Germany, but not the West Nile virus?“. After the lecture, discussion of this and other questions was continued in a relaxed atmosphere during an informal dinner. Following the tradition of the Loeffler lecture, Franz X. Heinz was awarded with the Loeffler plaque and the FLI medal.