National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology as a platform for public health institutions
Published November 10, 2023
Representatives of major public health institutions and scientists from the National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology (NIVB) gathered together at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS. They discussed the possibilities of linking science and public health needs. The meeting showed that collaboration and coordination between these areas is key to addressing current public health challenges such as antibiotic resistance.
Prof. Jan Konvalinka, Director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS, v. v. i., took the opening remarks and outlined the possibilities of cooperation between the NIVB and institutions working in the field of public health, which is mainly the National Institute of Public Health, but also other institutions such as the State Veterinary Institute, the Military Medical Institute and other reference laboratories. The NIVB project was then presented to the participants through four short presentations by the scientists involved in the project. Discussions included the project’s achievements to date, case studies, international cooperation in the fight against pandemics, and how to use basic and applied science knowledge for better government decision-making.
The discussion that followed focused on a variety of topics, including antibiotic resistance, the lack of funding in some institutions and the need for rapid diagnostic methods. An important point was the need for communication and cooperation between scientific institutions and public authorities.
Doc. Pavel Plevka (CEITEC, Masaryk University) offered the public authorities the NIVB’s expertise in virology and bacteriology and stressed that the researchers involved in the project are open to any form of cooperation. Prof. Konvalinka confirmed that the scientists are waiting for concrete suggestions on what they can collaborate on. Establishing these collaborations can then lead to joint project applications.
The director of the National Institute of Public Health, MUDr. Barbora Macková, MHA, appreciated the effort to strengthen the connection between scientific institutions and those operating in the field of public health: “In addition to the connection with the application sphere, the public health strategy mainly focuses on education, science and research. Antibiotic resistance is one of the main topics at the moment, so we would welcome help raising awareness of this long-term threat.” Representatives from the public health sector agreed that it is necessary for the professional community to take an active role and become engaged in addressing antibiotic resistance.
Participants in the roundtable agree that the serious problem is primarily the lack of funding for public health institutions. Above all, the role of the National Institute of Public Health in the area of public health protection is absolutely crucial, and there is a need for this institution to be adequately funded to ensure its independence. This is the only way it will fully play its role in the Czech Republic.
The roundtable meeting showed that the National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology has the potential to play a key role in strengthening cooperation between scientific institutions and public authorities in the field of public health in the Czech Republic.