in Kooperation mit der Deutschen Vereinigung zur Bekämpfung der Viruskrankheiten e.V.

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Praia do Tofo, Inhambane, Mozambique
Sonntag, 1. September 2019 bis Donnerstag, 5. September 2019


Dear Colleagues

we invite you to attend the 4th Tofo Advanced Study Week on Emerging and Re-emerging Viruses (4th TASW; September 01 - 05, 2019) and/or the preceding "Tofo Spring School on the Molecular Biology of RNA Viruses" (TSS-2019; August 25 - September 01, 2019), both of which will take place at Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Mozambique. Tofo is at a 500 kilometers air-line distance from Beira, where cyclone Idai caused terrible destruction in March, while it did not even rain in Tofo. However, one of us (Dr. Eduardo Samo Gudo) is in the disaster area right now with his team, to monitor the situation with respect to infectious diseases caused by the ongoing flooding of dozens of square kilometers of land. While the local cholera outbreak is under control by now, there is an increasing number of cases of malaria, arbovirus diseases, and "fever of unknown origin". Dr. Samo Gudo's team will present their results in a special session on "Natural disasters and arbovirus disease" during the 4th Tofo Advanced Study Week.

Since Tofo is far from the disaster area (the distance by road is nearly 1000 kilometers) and the February/March cyclone season is over, the place remains perfectly safe (you are recommended to take malaria precaution). Located directly on the beautiful beach of the Indian Ocean, Hotel Tofo Mar is the ideal place to discuss emerging viruses at a site that is not too far from the real problem. As you know, 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. The result is lack of exchange of data and knowledge. In order to change that, we decided to set up a series of small, highly focused scientific meetings, the "Tofo Advanced Study Week on Emerging and Re-emerging Viruses", which will take place for the fourth time this coming September. The number of participants is restricted to 55 in order to allow robust discussion in a familiar atmosphere. The conference is organized by Professor Rolf Hilgenfeld, University of Luebeck (Germany) and Dr. Eduardo Samo Gudo, the Deputy Director General of the Instituto Nacional de Saúde, the National Institute of Health of Mozambique.

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 each family of emerging viruses during the conference:

- Molecular Biology

- Epidemiology

- Diagnostics

- Vaccine Development

- Development of Antivirals

- Vector Control

- Public Health Issues (incl. Outbreak Responses)

 In addition, we will have the special session on "Natural Disasters and arbovirus diseases".

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. Many guesthouses charge no or only a small extra fee for double occupancy, so bring your spouse and spend a nice holiday together in Tofo!

Prior to the 4th Tofo Advanced Study Week (August 25 - 31, 2019), we will organize the "Tofo Spring School on the Molecular Biology of RNA Viruses" (TSS-2019). Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, this School offers up to 35 places for scientists from Africa and for PhD students and young postdocs from anywhere in the world who are interested in molecular aspects of all steps of the "life cycle" of RNA viruses. Participants will enjoy free accommodation (in double- or triple-occupancy rooms) and get a significant portion of their flight expenses reimbursed. For details, or if you wish to apply to the School, please write to Prof. Rolf Hilgenfeld at Applications should comprise a Letter of Motivation, your CV, a list of publications (if available), and a recommendation letter from your supervisor, and are due by May 31, 2019. It is expected that participants selected for the School will stay in Tofo for the 4th TASW. More information on the School can be found at

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. Just write to to inquire.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the "4th Tofo Advanced Study Week on Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses" and perhaps also at the preceding "Tofo Spring School on the Molecular Biology of RNA Viruses" in August/September, 2019!

Rolf Hilgenfeld, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Luebeck, Germany
Eduardo Samo Gudo, Dr., Deputy Director General, Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Maputo, Mozambique

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