As a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, for the first time since its inception all conferences organised by the World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) will be organised remotely via video conference technologies. In doing so, WASD will use the latest technology in video conferencing from London with participants from all-over the world connecting from homes. The conference will follow on the recent Global Minds Debate organised by WASD focusing on the importance of remote learning during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) is a global forum that brings together experts from across the world to discuss issues relating to sustainable development (SD), science and technology management.
The aim of WASD is to promote the exchange of knowledge, experience, information and ideas among academics, scholars, professionals, policy makers, industry and students to improve the mutual understanding of the roles of science and technology in achieving SD all over the world.
The conference objective is to critically assess the impact of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown on all academic institutions across the world and how academic institutions can provide proper high-quality education and learning online? Before the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, there was a big debate about whether on-campus learning was good quality or whether online learning could ever replicate on-campus learning; suddenly all of those questions became irrelevant as all academic institutions have no other option than to deliver their teaching and learning online. All universities now must teach remotely. This happened right in the middle of the academic year, with no warning, everybody had to quickly adjust, close the physical campus and try to teach the curriculum online. Now the focus is going to be on the quality of the e-learning experience. In that sense, something quite positive could come out of this because all the educational institutions have been forced to use this medium, and a lot more attention is being paid to how we do this. How do we provide proper, high-quality education online? One consequence is going to be that if we are to do this properly, we are going to create educational institutions that are much more resilient in the future. More specifically, the conference aims to discuss and explore various approaches and different ways planned by governments which can contribute to enhance and support the implementation of online learning and education across the world.
Participants are invited to address the following key issues in their contribution:
How countries can effectively implement various policies and strategies for online learning and teaching.
Developing new methods and approaches to suit the challenges and opportunities of post Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in the new era of digital revolution.
Actions to implement different appropriate ways of teaching and learning and of doing new things that will be essential to remote learning and help in the implementation of a comprehensive online learning platforms particularly in DCs.
Teaching and learning differently from the old face-to-face classic approach on campus.
The role of the private sector in implementing online learning.
Availability of teaching and learning content particularly in DCs. More importantly the role of governments to help academic institutions with various initiatives for the availability of e-content.
Limited experience with online learning, most DCs are not very familiar with the appropriate and most effective teaching and learning methods or platforms to be used online.
Online infrastructure availability particularly in DCs. Such as an uninterrupted Wi-fi supply as well as the availability of electricity particularly in Africa.
Maturity of most e-learning platforms and/or application particularly in DCs.
Capacity building and training for staff in most DCs is a very critical issue facing teachers and students when using an online learning technologies and applications.
Papers submitted prior to the deadline will be included in our high-quality publications (www.wasd.org.uk/online-learning/publications/) which has been published by WASD since 2003 in partnership with various publishers. Our conference proceedings are listed in the Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index (CPCI), and respected all over the world by leading academic and professional bodies (https://youtu.be/hb7VSdSAxRE) such as the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, European Commission and major universities in the UK (Oxford, Cambridge, London), USA (Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, NY, California) and Australia (Queensland, Sydney, Griffith).
All papers included in our proceedings will also be reviewed for possible inclusion in WASD refereed journals (www.wasd.org.uk/journals/).
Call for Track Chairs: We are looking for nominations for track chairs who will be interested to support the conference organising committee in selecting and reviewing the papers submitted for the conference. If interested, please contact Ms Janet Snow (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“We noted the quality of your annual conferences conceived and organized as fertile formulas of multi-stakeholder partnerships. It is against this background that I would kindly invite you to organize your 2018 16th International Annual Conference in Geneva, at the Palais des Nations. That would allow us to present the work of the Joint Inspection Unit to a broader audience.”
Dr. Petru Dimitru – Inspector – United Nations Joint Inspection Unit
“While sustainable development is now en vogue, WASD can be credited alongside agencies that championed the merits of sustainable development and the urgency and necessity to pursue holistic strategies that will facilitate the enhancement of the human condition, while causing minimal harm to the environment. Further, when many were caught up in the euphoria of the ICT revolution and what it meant for countries traditionally trapped in the bowels of abject poverty, WASD was able to deconstruct the ICT revolution and to explore the real social and economic opportunities therein for countries which were historically dependent on trade in primary products/ commodities.”
Hon. Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert Minister Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Government of St Lucia
November, 2002, an epidemic caused by a novel Betacoronavirus - SARS –nCoV emerged in Guangdong, southern China. SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome, resulted in more than 8000 human infections and 774 deaths in 37 countries during 2002–03
In 2012, the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was first detected in Saudi Arabia. MERS infected 2494 patients and kills 858 since September, 2012, including 38 deaths following a single introduction into South Korea
In 2019 December, a new human-infecting betacoronavirus 2019-nCoV pandemic started in Wuhan in China. 2019-nCoV is sufficiently divergent from SARS-nCoV . The phylogenetic analysis suggests that bats might be the original host of this virus (Lu et. al., 2020). The bats were likely to be the reservoir for 2019-nCoV as it is most closely related to other betacoronaviruses of bat origin
The new pandemic 2019- nCoVID started in December 2019 and up to 24 March 2020, within 67 days the number of infected patients in 196 countries was 410,213 , with 18,266 deaths, 107,182 recovered. The new pandemic now is out of control and the numbers of victims increased in a logarithmic way
The coronavirus epidemic in the world started in Wuhan in China, caused by a new novel type of the Family Coronaviride the 2019 nCoV. According to Baltimore’s nucleic acid based taxonomy of viruses, members of Coronaviridae belonged to Group IV positive single stranded RNA viruses (+ssRNA). Coronavirus is the largest RNA viruses their genome ranged from 26000bp to 32000bp . The Coronaviridae genome is replicated by RNA dependant RNA polymerase , that induce more mutations 1 in every 1000 base pairs
The complete genome sequences of the novel virus 2019-nCoV was 29,844 bp and was compared to genome other coronaviruses ( Lu et. al., 2020). The genome sequence of 2019-nCoV is most closely related (87.237 %) to two bats coronovirus that collected 2018 in Zhoushan, eastern China ; Bats- SL-nCoVZC45 (29732bp) and bat-SL-nCoVZXC21 . 2019-nCoV is less genetically similar to SARS- nCoV (79%); with a genome of 29751bp. 2019-nCoV The genome of MERS-nCoV (30,119 bp) was found to be the least related 50% to 2019- nCoV
Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 2019-nCoV fell within the subgenus Sarbecovirus of the genus Betacoronavirus, with a relatively long branch length to its closest relatives bat-SL-nCoVZC45 and bat-SL-nCoVZXC21, Accordingly, the realtime PCR kits or other immunodiagnostic kits might not be able to detect the new virus with high percentages of false negatives due to sequence variation
Diagnosis of 2019 nC0VID is very important to find out the first few cases and to isolate them, to prevent unchecked community spread. Confirmation of clinical diagnosis and follow up of viral load in patients before and after treatment, to ensure complete cure
Many scientific reports showed that early Chinese may have had false negative rate as high as 50%. In USA many test kits released by the CDC on Feb.2020 were defective. Accordingly, the magnitude of this epidemic is still unknown. Also lower numbers of people were tested
?Why Real Time PCR gives false negative results for patients infected with CoVID 2019
Though real time PCR is the most advance and sensitive molecular diagnostic test
it's operation requires highly skilled experts to avoid any mistakes *
The site from which the sample taken not from the right place or no viruses in it *
The samples not preserved well or transported in unsuitable preservatives *
that may destroy the virus RNA genome or this preservatives may alter or inhibits PCR enzymes May be sterilization measures affect the sample, The RNA extraction Kits may not be suitable of efficient to obtain coronavirus RNA nucleic acid in good quality or with high concentration
The test has two successive steps : the first one to do reverse transcriptase real time PCR to produce virus *
cDNA, and the second to use the cDNA virus for amplification
The two steps based on prior knowledge about the conserved sequence of the new coronavirus so as to design the PCR primers
The rt PCR primers designed were not completely complementary to the new coronavirus nCoV ID 2019 , or not designed from the conserved sequences of RNA genome of the new coronavirus ، may be designed for old other corona virus that not suitable for the detection of the new coronavirus.(i.e. older RT PCR kits may be used )
The annealing or hybridization temperature for RT.PCR primers is not adjusted (calibrated) may be very *
that may give false negative results on clinically positive corona patientsIn this situation a new type specific primers from the nCoV ID 2019 conserved sequence , should be designed . Moreover, TagMan probe based real time PCR primers (type specific) should be usedThe Concentration of the virus nucleic acid in step one reverse transcriptase PCR *Or step 2 for cDNA may be very low and below 100 nanogram/microliterAccording to Lu et. al., 2020, the following primers should be used. The specific *primers and probe set (labelled with the reporter 6-carboxyfluorescein [FAM] and the quencher Black Hole Quencher 1 [BHQ1]) or orf1a were as followsForward primer 5′-AGAAGATTGGTTAGATGATGATAGT-3′Reverse primer 5′-TTCCATCTCTAATTGAGGTTGAACC-3′Probe 5′-FAM-TCCTCACTGCCGTCTTGTTGACCA-BHQ1-3′Internal control, the human GAPDH geneForward primer 5′-TCAAGAAGGTGGTGAAGCAGG-3′Reverse primer 5′-CAGCGTCAAAGGTGGAGGAGT-3′Probe 5′-VIC-CCTCAAGGGCATCCTGGGCTACACT-BHQ1-3′
Dr. Zahir Abbas Hilmi
PhD Molecular Virology (Division Taxonomy of Human Papillomavirus, Department of Tumor Virology , the DKFZ German Cancer Research Center & Gezira University)
Lu, R. et. al.,( 2020) . Genomic characterization and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. The Lancet, (395)
DO - 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30251-8
Basic protective measures against the new corona virus:
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading
Follow the guidance outlined above.
Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why?Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why?Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses