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Daegu’s breeding ground for parasitology research

South Korea’s strong background in the field of parasitology sees Daegu poised to welcome some 2,000 parasitologists from 100 countries as it hosts the 14th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA).

Taking place August 19-24, the conference, themed “Parasites: Harms & Benefits to Animals & Humans”, will cover issues ranging from parasitic diseases, preventive drugs and vaccines, to recent industry developments.

The World Federation for Parasitologists (WFP) chose Korea as host due to its research and engagement in the field of parasitology. In 2008, Korea hosted the 17th International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria, which left a legacy of eliminating parasites. Organising body the Korean Society for Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (KSPTM) has a strong track record of research and in the past 10 years has engaged in a variety of international knowledge exchanges in the field.

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and other NGOs also provide medical care to combat parasites in developing countries. Most notably, Korea is the only country among WFP beneficiaries which developed into becoming a donor in the fight against parasites.

“Hosting the ICOPA is a great opportunity for Korea to strengthen its competitiveness in the MICE industry, and foster strong relationships between international conferences and local knowledge hubs,” notes Jo Deok Hyun, Executive Director of the Korea MICE Bureau.

A strong local organising committee comprises local researchers in the field from University Colleges of Medicine across South Korea.

Yonsei University College of Medicine’s Tai-Soon Yong, Chair of the Organizing Committee, says: “Parasitology is not a science that belongs to the past, but is being developed by new concepts and technologies that are more interesting and beneficial to humankind.”

Jong-Yil Chai, President of the 14th ICOPA and Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University College of Medicine, adds: “Korean parasitologists are putting in lots of efforts with a great passion for developing the research field ranging from all related areas. This Congress is expected to serve as a hot debating space for parasitology around the world and to address some crucial issues, coming up with solutions. To this end, we are collaborating with the central and local governments, and related organizations of Korea to make this event substantial.”