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20 April 2021

Dear colleagues,

Please find below the latest edition of ESCMID Weekly News.

With kind regards,
ESCMID Executive Office.


ESCMID Online Postgraduate Education – Join us for the upcoming courses!

ESCMID’s 2021 Live Online Postgraduate Education Courses are underway, with the first courses taking place last week!

Be sure to visit the ESCMID Online Courses website and sign up for the great courses taking place in May, including:

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ECCMID 2021 Latebreaker abstract submission – Opening next week!

Latebreaker abstract submission for ECCMID 2021 will open next week on Monday, 26 April, 2021. 

The ECCMID Programme Committee will allow, as an exception this year, the submission of regular research abstracts during the late-breaker call, for members of our community who could not prepare and submit their work during the regular call due to involvement in the pandemic response. These abstracts could belong to any of the abstract categories, but abstracts focusing on COVID-19 and the other late-breaker categories are highly encouraged.

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ECCMID Grants: Twice as many granted registrations!

ESCMID is excited to announce that, in 2021, the amount of granted registrations will be increased from the usual 100 to 200! We are looking forward to enabling even more ESCMID Young Scientist Members to join us online to present their abstracts!

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Next EUCAST online seminar

Be sure not to miss the next EUCAST free online seminar, taking place tomorrow, April 21 2021 at both 08:00 and 13:00 CEST.

The seminar is titled ‘Frequently Asked Questions and how to use ECOFFinder’ and will be presented by John Turnidge and Erika Matuschek.

Find out more and get the link to join on the EUCAST Online Seminars page

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EITaF comments on vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT)

The ESCMID Emerging Infections Task Force (EITaF) have released a comprehensive statement commenting on the recent discussions regarding vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopaenia in relation to some brands of COVID-19 vaccine.

Read this, and other items, on the EITaF Outbreak News page,  and sign up for EITaF news updates on your ESCMID profile.

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Official launch of Open Research Europe (ORE) - The European Commission’s open access publishing platform

The European Commission has now officially launched Open Research Europe, the open access publishing platform for scientific articles that present the results of research funded by Horizon 2020, and soon Horizon Europe.

ESCMID would like to bring to your attention the dedicated letter of Mr. Jean-Eric PAQUET, Director-General of the European Commission Research department.

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EMA communication: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine: EMA finds possible link to very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets

EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).

The PRAC noted that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding. The Committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal (As of 4 April 2021, a total of 169 cases of CVST and 53 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis were reported to EudraVigilance. Around 34 million people had been vaccinated in the EEA and UK by this date. The more recent data do not change the PRAC’s recommendations). The cases came mainly from spontaneous reporting systems of the EEA and the UK, where around 25 million people had received the vaccine.

One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, leading to a condition similar to one seen sometimes in patients treated with heparin (heparin induced thrombocytopenia, HIT). The PRAC has requested new studies and amendments to ongoing ones to provide more information and will take any further actions necessary.

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EMA communication: "Human Medicines Highlights" Newsletter - April 2021 issue

EMA is pleased to share with ESCMID the latest edition of the monthly Newsletter which includes decisions by the EMA Scientific Committees and updates on medicines safety. ESCMID hopes that you will find this useful.

You can access the Newsletter by clicking here. Previous editions can also be found on this page.

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CMI highlight: Development and clinical validation of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay to diagnose high HBV DNA levels in resource-limited settings

A massive scale-up of testing and treatment is indicated to globally eliminate hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. However, access to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a key test to quantify HBV DNA levels and determine treatment eligibility, is limited in resource-limited countries. The authors of the present study developed and evaluated loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay to diagnose clinically important HBV DNA thresholds defined by WHO (≥20,000 and ≥200,000 IU/mL).

According to the results presented, this new assay represents a simple, rapid (60 minutes), and inexpensive (US$8/assay) alternative to PCR to diagnose high viremia ≥200,000 IU/mL. HBV-LAMP may contribute to eliminating HBV mother-to-child transmission by identifying high-risk pregnant women eligible for antiviral prophylaxis in resource-limited countries.

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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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