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28 April 2020

Dear colleagues,

Please find below the latest edition of ESCMID Weekly News.

With kind regards,
ESCMID Executive Office.


Upcoming ESCMID Websymposium on COVID-19 and IPC

The next ESCMID Websymposium on COVID-19 is coming up this Thursday, 30 April, from 18:00 – 20:00 CEST, and is the second instalment on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and how it relates to COVID-19. You can access the websymposium here.

Follow ESCMID on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date with the announcement of these websymposiums, including these other upcoming dates:

⦁ COVID-19 and diagnostics:
   Thursday, 7 May 2020, 18:00-20:00 CEST 

⦁ COVID-19: the Situation worldwide:
   Tuesday, 12 May 2020, 18:00-20:00 CEST

⦁ COVID-19 case presentations:
   Thursday, 14 May 2020, 18:00-20:00 CEST

⦁ COVID-19 and Public Health:
   Thursday, 21 May 2020, 18:00-20:00 CEST

You can watch a replay of the first two websymposiums on the ESCMID E-Academy.

› Read more

ESCMID Study Group Research Grants 2020: call opening and closing dates

Also in 2020, ESCMID will support Study Group research projects in the fields of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. The call to apply for the ESCMID Study Group Research Grants will officially open 18 May 2020 and the deadline for submitting your applications is 27 July 2020, 17:00 CEST.

All the info regarding the ESCMID Study Group Research funding are available here .

Please carefully read the updated “Eligibility criteria” and “What you need to apply” sections: important changes have been made compared to the previous call.

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EMA communication: COVID-19: reminder of risk of serious side effects with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (currently authorised for treating malaria and certain autoimmune diseases) are known to potentially cause heart rhythm problems, and these could be exacerbated if treatment is combined with other medicines, such as the antibiotic azithromycin, that have similar effects on the heart. In addition to side effects affecting the heart, they are known to potentially cause liver and kidney problems, nerve cell damage that can lead to seizures (fits) and low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).

These medicines are being used in the context of the ongoing pandemic for treating patients with COVID-19 and investigated in clinical trials. However, clinical data are still very limited and inconclusive, and the beneficial effects of these medicines in COVID-19 have not been demonstrated. Results from large, well-designed studies are needed to make any conclusions.

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4th 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 4th teleconference was held on Tuesday, 21 April 2020, and focused on measures to protect healthcare workers. 

Participants discussed appropriate measures to protect the health and well-being of medical staff to face the infectiousness of COVID-19.  Masks are a crucial equipment that in the current pandemic are in high demand. The WHO has recommended protective measures to take while dealing with positive patients, and at the same time advised on ways to minimize the consumption of personal protection equipment. Most countries are applying WHO guidelines, but local guidelines are also been developed to face situations of emergency and unavailability of material.  A main difference between countries is the position on universal surgical masking for all healthcare workers; countries that have been highly affected by the pandemic have experience decreased contagiousness among healthcare workers after introducing universal masking. 

Other points of discussion were the periodic screening of healthcare workers, the use of prophylactic measures, and the screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients admitted to undergo surgery non-related to COVID-19.

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Elections of Study Group Executive Committees now open

The nomination phase for the renewal of the Study Group Executive committees closed on 20 April 2020. The participation was very high and resulted in more than 500 ESCMID members being nominated; around 180 nominations were accepted and received the minimum number of supporters. Nominations are still open for ESGITM.

Election committees have now reviewed most nominations and opened elections. To participate in the election process, log in to http://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. Elections will close on 11 May 2020; please be sure to renew immediately your ESCMID membership, should it expire before this deadline.


For any question, contact science@escmid.org

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CMI highlight: Challenges and issues about organising a hospital to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak: experience from a French reference centre

The COVID-19 epidemic is unique because of its scale, the speed of its spread, the lack of pre-existing scientific data and the importance of media coverage. However, the resilience of health systems in response to COVID-19 is under question, including in high-income countries. Health system resilience can be defined as the capacity of health actors, institutions, and populations to prepare for and effectively respond to crises; maintain core functions when a crisis hits; and, informed by lessons learned during the crisis, reorganise if conditions require it. In order to provide data on health systems resilience during COVID-19, Peiffer-Smadja et al. describe, the key elements of the response to COVID-19 including the challenges and issues to anticipate following the experience of the Bichat-Claude Bernard hospital and reference centre.

The authors explore various key factors that impact the overarching effect of a global crisis such as this. They conclude that many health structures will face an increasing number of patients with COVID-19 and have to anticipate the consequences on all the departments including indirect impact on non-infected patients, to ensure the commitment of hospital management staff and health authorities, to encourage effective leadership, to involve and care for all the health care workers, and to organise communication with the wider public.

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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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