South Africa faces a large burden of diseases consisting of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), cancer, malaria and many other poverty related diseases. The country has the most serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world, with over 6 million people living with the condition. It has a largest antiretroviral therapy group in the world, with more than 3 million people.
HIV/AIDS remains on the top list of killers in South Africa, while the use of potent active antiretroviral therapies is limited by their severe adverse effects, low bioavailability and ineffectiveness.
Opportunistic infections such as TB often accompany this high rate of HIV infection, and as a result, in Africa, HIV is the single most important factor contributing to the increase in the incidence of TB since 1990. This makes it clear that the war against HIV will never be won unless we win the war against TB.
Nanotechnology is an emerging field of science that promises to revolutionise medicine in the 21st century, as it offers great potential to radically advance the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease, such as TB and HIV/AIDS.
The aim of the symposium is to provide a platform for researchers and industry to showcase ground breaking academic and industrial research to policy makers and promote development in the areas of HIV/AIDS, TB and nanomedicine in South Africa (SA) and Switzerland (Swiss).
The topics of discussions will include:
- Nanotechnology development in SA and Switzerland
- SA and Swiss cutting-edge joint research projects in TB and HIV/AIDS with a focus on nanomedicine
- Nanotechnology safety, risk and ethics
- The need for public awareness on nanotechnology
- Opportunities provided by SA government towards innovation and commercialisation support
- SA-Swiss business development programme – innovations in nanomedicine
- Swiss private sector activities in TB and HIV/AIDS in SA.