International Day of Immunology: Celebrating Your Amazing Immune System

International Day of Immunology: Celebrating Your Amazing Immune System

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Highlights:
  • International Day of Immunology is celebrated on 29th April every year
  • It aims to highlight the importance of immunology for maintaining optimal health
  • Immunology research has contributed immensely to major advances in the medical sciences
The International Day of Immunology is celebrated on 29th April every year. The celebration provides an opportunity for raising global awareness about the importance of immunology research in fighting infectious diseases, autoimmunity and cancer, which have a direct bearing on human health. The 2019 International Day of Immunology Theme is 'Cancer Checkpoint Blockade,' which focuses on therapeutic strategies that block cancer progression.
International Day of Immunology: Celebrating Your Amazing Immune System

A major objective of the International Day of Immunology is to create a bridge of understanding between scientists, patients and the general public. All the activities this year will be dedicated to high school students.

Genesis of International Day of Immunology

The International Day of Immunology was established in 2005 by the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS). Due to the grand success of these celebrations, the International Day of Immunology is being celebrated across the globe since 2007, led by the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and EFIS. The IUIS and EFIS are working together to encourage national immunological societies to proactively participate in the celebrations by showcasing the importance of immunology research in human health.

How is International Day of Immunology Celebrated?

Since its inception in 2005, the International Day of Immunology has become a global phenomenon. It provides a unique opportunity for high school students to directly interact and engage with scientists and gain first-hand knowledge of how scientific research works. It also provides them a glimpse of what the life of a scientist is like.

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The International Day of Immunology is celebrated by all leading research institutions and organizations across the world through various events and activities. Some of these are briefly highlighted below:
  • Lectures by experts in frontier areas of immunology
  • Lab visits by students for interaction with scientists
  • Classroom discussions with students to ignite their interest in immunology
  • Workshops on the latest biomedical research techniques
  • Group discussions on various aspects of immunology
  • Conferences and symposia highlighting cutting-edge research in immunology
  • Public awareness campaigns on immunology through posters, films, and videos
  • Promotion of immunology through social media such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Photography exhibitions on the immune system
  • Quizzes on the topic of immunology
  • Publication of newspaper articles on immunology
  • Media coverage of success stories in immunology research

Celebration of International Day of Immunology in India

This year, Tezpur University in Assam is celebrating International Day of Immunology by organizing a symposium that focuses on the theme 'Immunology at a Glance.' The program, which is being sponsored by the Indian Immunology Society (IIS), aims to promote the potential benefits of immunology research to society. The celebrations will include a short movie/animation making competition.

Indian Immunology Society

The Indian Immunology Society (IIS) is the premier immunology society in India. It was established in 1972-73 with the aim of promoting and developing the field of immunology through education, research, and training. Another objective of IIS is to harness the power of immunology to fight major diseases in India. There are currently over 1,700 IIS members. Executive Committee Members of IIS are elected every three years and are constituted of scientists from various parts of India. IIS celebrates International Day of Immunology every year on a grandiose scale.

Importance of Immunology Research

Immunology is the branch of medical science that deals with the defensive mechanisms involved in protecting the body against infectious microbes and other forms of toxic insult. The role played by the immune system is pivotal for fighting cancer and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, influenza, measles, as well as a host of other diseases, including those arising from autoimmunity. Knowledge of immunology is also vital for preventing the rejection of organ transplants.

The origins of immunology date back to 430 BC when Thucydides of Athens first described that individuals who had recovered from a bout of plague could nurse sick patients without getting the disease a second time.

Immunology research has been a major impetus in bringing about revolutionary changes in healthcare through the development of novel immunodiagnostics and immunotherapies that have saved many lives, and continue to do so.

Immunologists have increased our understanding of the immune system and its role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, which was previously thought to be non-immunologic in nature. Immunologists have also contributed immensely to major clinical advances for treating cancer, asthma and allergies, among others.

Cutting-edge immunology research is now conquering new frontiers in the areas of synthetic oral vaccines, immune aging, and immunoregulation.

As great as the contribution of immunology has already been, scientists are highly optimistic that it will continue to bring about further revolutionary transformations in healthcare in the future.

Conclusion

Scientific research is progressing by leaps-and-bounds and its outcomes are shaping people's lifestyles and the way diseases are treated.

Students, especially young ones, are highly receptive and curious to learn new things, but they lack the knowledge of what career options are available to them. The International Day of Immunology places them at the heart of immunological research and gives them a taste of what it would be like if they chose medical research as a career option.

So, on 29th April 2019, let's discuss and deliberate on all aspects of immunology for igniting interest in the minds of school goers for becoming the future torchbearers of immunology across the world.

References :
  1. Day of Immunology: Engaging a New Generation of Researchers - Garvan Institute of Medical Research - (https://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/day-of-immunology-engaging-a-new-generation-of-researchers)
  2. Day of Immunology - Australasian Society for Immunology Inc.  - (http://www.immunology.org.au/day-of-immunology/)
  3. The Day of Immunology is April 29! - International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS)  - (http://iuisonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=454:the-day-of-immunology-is-april-29&catid=35:news&Itemid=73)
  4. Day of Immunology - European Federation of Immunological Societies - (https://www.efis.org/public-outreach/day-of-immunology/index.html)
  5. Indian Immunology Society (IIS)  - (http://www.indianimmunology.org/)


Source: Medindia

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