Combating Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases in Clinical Trials by Harnessing Innovative Technologies

Clinical Trials, Drug Discovery and Development, Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical,
  • January 20, 2016

The golden age of antibiotics proved to be a short-lived one as there is now sufficient evidence to show that one of the most important emerging public health threats is that of large-scale dissemination of multi-resistant pathogens in the hospital environment, the community, and the wider environment. But how has mankind got into this predicament? In developed countries, one leading factor is the over-prescription by physicians of antimicrobials, particularly antibiotics, even in the absence of appropriate indications. Such inappropriate physician practices are often fostered by diagnostic uncertainty, lack of opportunity for patient follow-up, lack of knowledge regarding optimal therapies, and patient demand. In many developing countries, problems typically arise because antimicrobial agents are readily available and can be purchased as a commodity without the advice or prescription of a physician or other trained health care provider.

Bacteria and other pathogens have always evolved so that they can resist the new drugs that medicine has used to combat them. Resistance has increasingly become a problem in recent years because the pace at which we are discovering novel antibiotics has slowed drastically, while antibiotic use is rising. And it is not just a problem confined to bacteria, but all microbes that have the potential to mutate and render our drugs ineffective. The great strides forward made over the past few decades to manage Tuberculosis (MTB) and HIV could be reversed, with these diseases once again spiralling out of control. Emerging Infectious diseases represent a growing risk to global human health. The goal of drug development programs is to develop diagnostics and therapies that are efficacious against the pathogen and its resistant variants. For example, microbes and the mechanisms by which they cause disease can now be quickly characterized through rapid genomic sequencing, proteomics, epigenomics, and other tools. Genomics technology is also being applied diagnostically, enhancing the ability to detect microbes at the point of care and to track their spread within human populations. Advances in structural biology, including x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, have allowed investigators to characterize the conformations of microbial proteins in detail. An improved understanding of host-pathogen interactions and microbial protein function have led to more rational drug designs, resulting in important therapeutic advances against microbial infection including HIV and HCV. In addition, new platforms for vaccine and antibiotic design, such as nanoparticles and virus-like particles, have opened avenues for vaccine and antibiotic development.

This webinar will highlight the challenges of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases such as MTB, HIV, MRSA, and Ebola. It will also provide case studies on how innovative technologies like NGS are utilized to provide a deeper understanding of the pathogen and drug resistance pathways and thus provide better insights into developing diagnostics and therapies that are efficacious against the target pathogen and its resistant variants with improved safety.


Stephen Mortlock, DSc, Global Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Liaison, Heston, UK, Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture

Stephen Mortlock, DSc, Global Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Liaison, Heston, UK, Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture

Dr. Stephen Mortlock is the Global Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Liaison at the Q2 Solutions laboratory in Heston UK. Prior to joining Q2 Solutions, Stephen was the Chief Microbiologist at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore, Pakistan where he was responsible for setting up the microbiology department. During this time he was awarded a DSc for his work setting up an antenatal screening programme. He also sat on the control of infection committee and environmental monitoring team. Stephen and colleagues have published over 70 papers on an eclectic mix of subjects from enteric pathogens, food science, quality assurance and the use of saliva for HIV antibody screening. Stephen has also worked for the Health Protection Agency in the UK and spent time in the USA, Africa and the Middle East. Along with his professional qualifications Stephen is also a Churchill Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Ayaskant Pany, MD, Director, Medical Laboratory, Central Laboratories South Africa, Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture

Ayaskant Pany, MD, Director, Medical Laboratory, Central Laboratories South Africa, Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture

Dr. Pany is currently the Medical Laboratory Director, South Africa. His broad responsibilities include both administrative and technical management of the Lab and its employees. He also oversees Developmental activities for Tuberculosis and Microbiology over Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture. This is Dr. Pany’s 5th year in the company. Dr. Pany started with Quintiles Clinical Trial Laboratory Mumbai as Manager- Medical Laboratory, in-charge of setting up and operation of Bacteriology/Molecular Biology and Mycobacteriology Labs at Mumbai and Centurion facilities respectively.
Dr. Pany has obtained his MD in Microbiology from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute and his MBBS from MKCG Medical College, Berhampur, Odisha. With over 15 years’ experience in the medical field in various capacity – Scientist, Academician, Clinician and Surgeon; his areas of special interest are Clinical Trials, Laboratory Management, Research Science, Biosafety, Assay Development and Diagnostics. His previous work experiences include as Research Scientist and coordinator for R&D services at R&D Division (Advanced Genomics, Proteomics and Molecular Biology), Super Religare Laboratories Ltd., Mumbai and as Lecturer, Mycobacteriology Section, Department of Microbiology, St.John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore. He has presented and published original research and reviews in reputed conferences and journals. Dr. Pany is also served as a College of American Pathologists (CAP) Inspector in the field of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Biology.

Sorika van Niekerk, MSc Medical Microbiology, UP, SA, Senior Director / General Manager, Central Laboratories South Africa, Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture

Sorika van Niekerk, MSc Medical Microbiology, UP, SA, Senior Director / General Manager, Central Laboratories South Africa, Q2 Solutions, a Quintiles Quest Joint Venture

Sorika van Niekerk joined the Clinical Research Industry in 1999 as a Junior Clinical Research Associate (CRA). She was promoted to Clinical Research Associate in the same year and to senior Clinical Research Associate in 2000. As CRA and Senior CRA she was involved in various studies including being CTL on two Phase III flu vaccine trials (one paediatric and two geriatric). Her experience in monitoring phase II and III trials covers a variety of therapeutic areas including Opthalmology, Anti-infective diseases as well as in the respiratory field. She was promoted to Clinical Trial Manager (CTM) in August 2001 where she was involved as Clinical Team Lead on a geriatric flu vaccine trial. In September 2002 she was promoted to Clinical Operations Manager (COM) where she was responsible for the co-ordination and management of various clinical trials. She also served on Quintiles Clindepharm’s Training Committee. Sorika also took responsibility for expanding Clinical Operations into the rest of Africa. In March 2005 she was promoted to Executive Director, Clinical Operations where she has overseen all clinical functions for Sub Saharan Africa. She was actively involved in the driving of opening of offices in East and West Africa. Sorika moved over to Senior Director Laboratory Operations for Sub-Saharan Africa on 1 April 2012 with a special interest and specific strategy to increase the infectious disease footprint for the laboratory.

Who Should Attend?

  • CEO/Presidents of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Companies
  • Director/VPs of Clinical Operations, Clinical Trial Managers
  • Chief Medical and Scientific Officers
  • Bioanalytical Scientists
  • Medical Science Liaisons
  • Clinical Development Program-Leaders and Team Members
  • R&D Directors, Managers in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Companies
  • Clinical Program Managers or Project Managers
  • Procurement/Outsourcing Managers

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Q2 Solutions

Launched in 2015, Q2 Solutions is a leading global clinical trials laboratory services organization. We help bioPharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics customers improve human health through innovation that transforms science and data into actionable medical insights. Q2 Solutions is a quality driven, responsive partner with strong global experience and deep scientific and medical expertise. The Q2 Solutions joint venture was formed by Quintiles and Quest Diagnostics, combining the best of each parent organizations’ clinical trials laboratory services capabilities. To learn more, visit

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