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14 April 2020
WEEKLY NEWS

Dear colleagues,

Please find below the latest edition of ESCMID Weekly News.

With kind regards,
ESCMID Executive Office.

 

ESCMID Webinar on COVID-19 – Catch the replay!

On Friday April 10, ESCMID hosted its first open-access webinar on COVID-19. An expert faculty discussed diagnostic and practical aspects of treatment and infection control over 2 hours.

You can watch a replay of the webinar on the ESCMID E-Academy.

› Read more

ECCMID 2020 Registration Donations – Thank you!

ESCMID would like to thank the generous ECCMID registrants that have chosen to donate their ECCMID registration fee rather than refunding.

More than €10,500 has been raised, which will be contributed to ESCMID projects on COVID-19.

2nd ESCMID teleconference with Affiliated Societies

To help share knowledge on the COVID-19 pandemic, ESCMID is holding a series of teleconferences with representatives of its Affiliated Societies. The 2nd teleconference was held on Tuesday, 7 April 2020, and focused on diagnosis of COVID-19, in particular the challenges of PCR-based diagnostics and use of serological tests.

Participants discussed shortages in reagents and consumables, as well as the heavy reliance on manufacturers based outside Europe, which reduces the choice of available kits. They also shared information on use of in-house reagents, protocols that allow amplification of crude extracts, and sample alternatives to naso- and oro-pharyngeal swabs (e.g. saliva). Much effort is being put into development of serological tests. Although at the moment more research is needed to reach satisfactory levels of sensitivity, some tests may already be suitable for a first screening in the emergency department and for the re-integration of healthcare workers recovered from COVID-19. Finally, how to ensure safety in laboratories handling COVID-19 samples was discussed.

The next teleconference will focus on management of patients and is scheduled for Tuesday, 14 April 2020, 18:00-19:00 pm CEST.

› Read more
 

Nominations accepted now for Study Group Executive Committees

If you are a member of one of the Study Groups listed below, you can now propose your nomination to stand for the election of the new Executive Committee, term 2020-2022. In addition, you can nominate other members and express your support.

To participate in the election process, log in to my.escmid.org with your ESCMID credentials and click on the “Study Group Elections” icon. Only members with a valid ESCMID membership can take part in the election process. Please be sure to renew immediately your ESCMID membership, should it expire before 11 May 2020. Deadline for nominations is 20 April 2020.

The Study Groups that have opened elections are: ESGS, EFISG, EPASG, ESGAP, ESGBOR, ESGCIP, ESGCP, ESGFOR, ESGHAMI, ESGIB, ESGITM, ESGLI, ESGPHM, ESGREV, EVASG, ESGARS, ESGMYC, EFWISG, ESGIE, ESGCD, ESGMD (one member).

For any question, contact science@escmid.org

› Read more
 

EMA provides recommendations on compassionate use of remdesivir for COVID-19

During an extraordinary virtual meeting held on 2 April 2020, EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) gave recommendations on how the investigational antiviral medicine remdesivir should be used for treating coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in compassionate use programmes in the European Union.

Compassionate use programmes, which are set up at the level of individual EU Member States, are intended to give patients with a life-threatening, long-lasting or seriously disabling disease and no available treatment options, access to treatments that are still under development and that have not yet received a marketing authorisation.

In this case Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands and Romania requested an opinion from the CHMP on the conditions under which early access to remdesivir through compassionate use could be given to patients with COVID 19.

Remdesivir has been shown to be active against SARS-CoV-2 and other types of coronavirus (i.e. SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) in laboratory studies; however, there are currently only limited data on the use of remdesivir in patients with COVID 19.

The aim of the CHMP’s recommendations for remdesivir is to ensure a common approach regarding the criteria and conditions of its use prior to authorisation of compassionate use programmes by Member States. The recommendations are for EU Member States that are considering setting up such a programme and their implementation is not mandatory. In addition to describing which patients may benefit from the medicine, the recommendations explain how to use remdesivir and give preliminary information on its safety.

The summary on compassionate use and conditions of use of remdesivir in this setting are available on the Agency's website.

This information and related content are published here. Please check EMA’s dedicated webpage on COVID-19 for the latest updates.

› Read more
 

Via WHO and EUCIC:
SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign, 5 May 2020

Nurses and other health care workers are the front-line heroes saving lives from COVID-19. In the meantime, neonatal and maternal care remain a critical, essential service and midwives continue to help women give birth, renewing life during these hard times.

This year on 5 May, the WHO SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands global campaign is highlighting the critical role of nurses and midwives in infection prevention and hand hygiene practices, to protect all patients. The slogan is “Nurses and Midwives, clean care is in your hands!“.

Find the main campaign poster, the Call to Action posters and all campaign resources here

› Read more
 

EU authorities agree new measures to support availability of medicines used in the COVID-19 pandemic

The continued availability of medicines, in particular those used for patients with COVID-19, is of critical concern for EMA and its partners in the European medicines regulatory network in light of the medical emergency presented by the pandemic.

Some EU Member States have indicated that they are starting to see shortages of certain medicines used for patients with COVID-19 or are expecting such shortages to occur very soon. These include medicines used in intensive care units such as certain anaesthetics, antibiotics and muscle relaxants as well as medicines used off-label for COVID-19. EU authorities are therefore putting in place additional measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain of medicines in a coordinated manner.

For more details on these additional measures, please click here. Please check EMA’s dedicated webpage on COVID-19 for the latest updates.

› Read more
 

CMI highlight: Rapid and visual detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) by a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay

Since the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infection, real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays have played an important role in clinical diagnosis and the investigation of suspected cases. However, such methods are laborious, time-consuming, require specialized instruments, and are therefore not able to satisfy the current rapid growth and demands of testing. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a rapid, sensitive, and effective visual nucleic acid amplification method. Recently, this method has been widely applied for the detection of influenza virus, MERS-CoV, West Nile virus, Ebola virus, Zika virus, and other pathogens. In this study, Yan et al. developed a Reverse Transcription LAMP (RT-LAMP) assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 in patients with COVID-19.

The novel RT-LAMP assay presented positive results in the mean time for completion and showed no cross-reactivity with other respiratory pathogens, so the diagnostic specificity of this method was higher than that reported for the serology test. In conclusion, the authors developed a RT-LAMP assay for SARS-CoV-2 detection that demonstrated high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity among clinical samples. The RT-LAMP assay is a powerful tool for SARS-CoV-2 identification not only in experimental laboratories, but also in hospitals as it does not require complex equipment. It may prove useful in monitoring suspected patients, close contacts, and high-risk groups.

› Read more
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The ESCMID Newsletter is issued on behalf of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) by the ESCMID Executive Office. It contains announcements of ESCMID-related matters and other information of interest to professionals in the infection field.

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