International Day of Immunology Date in the current year: April 29, 2024

International Day of Immunology The International Day of Immunology is observed annually on April 29. It was initiated by the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS). The main goal of the day is to raise global awareness of the importance of immunology in the fight against a wide range of diseases.

Immunology is a branch of biology that studies immune systems in all organisms. The main purpose of the immune system is to protect an organism from diseases by detecting various pathogens (viruses and bacteria, toxins, cancer cells, parasites, and foreign objects such as splinters) and attacking them without affecting the organism’s own healthy tissues.

Paul Ehrlich and Élie Metchnikoff (also written as Ilya Mechnikov) are credited among the founders of modern immunology. Ehrlich’s studies focused on humoral immunity, while Metchnikoff is regarded as the founder of cellular immunology. Ehrlich and Metchnikoff shared the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “in recognition of their work on immunity”.

In modern medicine, the achievements of immunology are used primarily in the treatment of immunological disorders (immunodeficiency, autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities), various infections, and cancer. Immunology is also inextricably linked with organ transplantation, since immunological knowledge is important for finding the best match and preventing transplant rejection, which is a common problem with organ transplants.

Finally, it is thanks to immunology that we have vaccination, the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases that saves millions of lives every year. Vaccination helped eradicate smallpox and eliminate diseases such as poliomyelitis, tetanus, whooping cough, and measles from most of the world.

The inaugural Day if Immunology was held on April 29, 2005 by the European Federation of Immunological Societies. Since 2007, it has been celebrated internationally. The main goal of the awareness campaign is to highlight the importance of immunology in the fight against infections, autoimmune diseases, and cancer, as well as to bring together immunologists from different countries to exchange knowledge and experience.

On the occasion of the International Day of Immunology, conferences, symposiums, lectures, seminars, round table discussions, and other professional events are held in different countries, as well as online. Every year, these events focus on a specific topic. For example, the 2020 theme was “Autoimmunity and Autoinflammation”, and the 2021 theme was “Immunology in the Time of COVID-19”.

Every three years, IUIS and EFIS jointly present awards to the best PR campaigns covering the International Day of Immunology. The total prize fund of the Day of Immunology Awards is €6,000. The awards are presented in four categories: International Day of Immunology Award (€2,000), European Day of Immunology Award (€2,000), Award or the Best Newcomer Campaign (€1,000), and Best Theme Award (€1,000). All regional federations and regional societies are eligible to apply.

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