Every year in September, the HIV Cure Research Center organized a lively HIV-oriented symposium in the picturesque city of Ghent, Belgium. Since the pandemic outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in 2020, the lab has also invested heavily in the initiation of key research in COVID-19. Therefore, for the second year in a row, we decided to organize an HIV and SARS-CoV-2 hybrid symposium. During this symposium we discussed key aspects of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and HIV cure. You can now relive the symposium online!

Sponsored by:


COVID-19 PATHOGENESIS - Chaired by Steven Callens & Guido Vanham
09.00 - 09.05

Welcome and Introduction

Linos Vandekerckhove, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

09.05 - 09.30

COVID-19 pandemic: a tale of a bat virus from China that changed Belgian history

Steven Van Gucht, Sciensano, Brussels, Belgium


09.30 - 09.55

SARS-CoV-2 spread through the human body

Jolien Van Cleemput, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium


09.55 - 10.20

Poster Session

1. External validation of 10 clinical scores for prediction of mechanical ventilation and 90-day mortality in patients admitted with COVID-19

Gil Verschelden, CUB and ULB, Brussels, Belgium

2. TGF-β2 is associated with asymptomatic/mild SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy

Susan Pereira Ribeiro, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

3. Artificial intelligence predicts severity of COVID-19 based on correlation of exaggerated monocyte activation, excessive organ damage and hyperinflammatory syndrome

Olga Vershinina, Lobachevsky University, Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia

4. Novel CRISPR-Cas13d system to target highly conserved sequences of SARS-CoV-2 and other human coronaviruses

Mouraya Hussein, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5. Investigation of nosocomial outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 at a University Hospital using whole genome sequencing

Laurens Lambrechts, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

10.20 - 10.45


COVID-19 VACCINATION - Chaired by Sarah Gerlo & Bert Schepens
10.45 - 11.10

Response of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination towards variants

Steven Callens, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


11.10 - 11.35

Antibody-based treatments to prevent and tackle SARS-CoV-2 infections

Delphine Acar, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


11.35 - 12.00

Poster Session

1. COVID-19 vaccination with BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines has the potential to induce nasal neutralizing antibodies

Jozefien Declercq, Ghent University and VIB, Ghent, Belgium

2. COVID-19 transmission within a cluster of Belgian students: epidemiological and clinical characteristics and their implications on future response and vaccination strategies

Febe Magherman & Aron Walraevens , Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

3. The Neutralizing Activity of convalescent plasma from patients infected with the B.1 SARS-CoV-2 strain drops against the Beta variant and is highly diverse against the other Variants of Concern

Danielle Perez Bercoff, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg

4. Comparing anti-S1 antibody titers in cancer patients after BNT162B2 or ChAdOx1 COVID-19 vaccination

Yana Debie, University Hospital Antwerp, Edegem, Belgium

12.00 - 13.00

Lunch/Satellite Symposia

HIV RESERVOIR - Chaired by Jozefien De Clerq & Marion Pardons
13.00 - 13.25

Spatial Approaches to Identify and Characterize HIV Reservoirs

Jacob Estes, Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon, US


13.25 - 13.50

Next generation multiplex assays for assessement of HIV intactness

Linos Vandekerckhove, Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


13.50 - 14.15

Poster Session

1. Dynamics of inflammatory mediators and their clinical correlates following early treated acute HIV infection

Jozefien De Clercq, Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

2. Multiplex assays in dPCR for the quantification of the HIV-1 reservoir

Willem Van Snippenberg, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

3. Chimeric proviral/human transcription events at the bach2 integration locus in cellular models for chronic HIV infection

Ulrike Lange, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

14.15 - 14.30


HIV CURE - Chaired by Wojciech Witkowski & Jolien Van Cleemput
14.30 - 14.55

The use of bNAbs towards an HIV cure

Sarah Fidler, Imperial College London, London, UK


14.55 - 15.20

Engineering the immune system for HIV Cure

Paula Cannon, University of Southern California, California, US


15.20 - 15.45

Poster Session

1. Novel NK activating multimeric immunotherapeutic compleXes (NaMix) induce cytotoxic activity against HIV-1 infected cells in vitro and in vivo

Carole Devaux, Luxembourg Institute of Heatlh, Esch-sur Alzette, Luxembourg

2. HYBRID CAR-T cell secreted antibodies neutralize HIV

Wojciech Witkowski, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

3. Real-life patient-reported outcomes among people living with HIV on single- versus multi-tablet regimens

Sophie Degroote, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

15.45 - 16.00

Closing words

Linos Vandekerckhove, Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

16.00 - 17.30



Due to the COVID-19 measures, the 7th edition will take place on december 2021.