4th TASW: Conference program finalized
Tofo Beach

Enjoy excellent science in a beautiful African setting

      Tofo Logo 2019

Dear colleague,

Many, if not most, emerging viruses have their origin in Africa. Yet, conferences dealing with the subject rarely take place in Africa. This is all the more of a problem as African virologists only rarely have the opportunity to attend conferences on emerging viruses in Europe, Asia, or North America. As a result, knowledge about the occurrence of new viruses in Africa is limited, unless there is a major outbreak. For example, the prevalence of dengue virus infections in African countries has been barely studied, and it is not known with certainty whether Zika virus infection of pregnant women in Africa is connected with the risk of microcephaly of the child (as it certainly was during the 2015/16 ZIKV outbreak in Latin America). In order to make a contribution to changing this lack of communication and exchange of knowledge, we decided to set up a series of small, highly focused scientific meetings at Praia do Tofo, a gemstone among the Indian Ocean beaches of Mozambique. Named “Tofo Advanced Study Weeks”, the meetings are restricted to 55 participants in order to allow robust discussion in a familiar atmosphere. The first of the meetings took place in September 2015 and was devoted to Ebola virus. The 2016 Advanced Study Week dealt with arboviruses and all the presentations and discussions are documented in a recent book (Hilgenfeld & Vasudevan (eds): "Dengue and Zika: Control and Antiviral Treatment Strategies", Springer, 2018). The 3rd Tofo Advanced Study Week, which took place from September 02 to 06, 2018, was devoted to emerging and remerging viruses in general. Meeting participants came from 14 different countries, i.e. from Angola, Belgium, Botswana, Burkina Faso, China, Germany, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, the USA, and Zimbabwe. 45 percent of participants were from Africa, and 47 percent of the speakers were Africans.

The 4th Tofo Advanced Study Week on Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses will build on the success of the three preceding meetings in this series. It will take place from September 01 to September 05, 2019, at Praia do Tofo, Inhambane, Mozambique. The conference is organized by Professor Rolf Hilgenfeld, University of Lübeck (Germany), in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Saúde, the National Institute of Health of Mozambique (Scientific Director: Dr. Eduardo Samo Gudo).

The focus of the meeting will be on (re-)emerging viruses of all kinds, for example, Dengue, Zika, West Nile, and Yellow Fever, or Rift Valley Fever and coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, as well as influenza or Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever viruses.

The following aspects will be dealt with for all families of emerging viruses during the conference:

- Molecular Biology
- Epidemiology
- Differential diagnostics
- Vaccine Development
- Development of Antivirals
- Vector Control
- Public Health Issues (incl. Outbreak Responses)

The 55 slots available at this meeting will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. The conference venue, Hotel Tofo Mar, is a newly renovated boutique hotel situated directly on the beautiful Indian Ocean beach of Tofo. Tofo is a divers' paradise (with one of the largest populations of whale sharks and manta rays in the world) and offers a relaxed atmosphere, enabling you to combine excellent science with a well-deserved holiday. Tofo is only 22 km from the airport of Inhambane, which has a daily flight from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Maputo can be reached by direct flights from Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Doha, Istanbul, and Nairobi, all of which are international hubs served by many airlines from Europe, Asia, and America.

Conference participants will stay in one of the many guesthouses and lodges on or near Tofo beach. All classes of accommodation, from dormitory to luxury, will be available.

Stipends will be available to support the participation of scientists from African countries and of PhD / MD students from anywhere in the world. Our local travel agency, Terra Agua Ceu Lda., will offer pre- and post-conference tours to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. One of their tours to the Kruger starts in Maputo (Mozambique) and ends at Johannesburg International Airport, from where you could catch your flight home. The travel agency can also assist you in booking accommodation and flights.

Looking forward to seeing you at the "4th Tofo Advanced Study Week on Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses" at Tofo Beach in September, 2019!

Rolf Hilgenfeld, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Lübeck, Germany

Eduardo Samo Gudo, Dr., Scientific Director, Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Maputo, Mozambique

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please send an email to