ESCMID weekly news 07.04.2020

7 April 2020: ESCMID Weekly News
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7 April 2020

Dear colleagues,

Please find below the latest edition of ESCMID Weekly News.

With kind regards,
ESCMID Executive Office.



ESCMID is very pleased to announce the first open-access webinar on COVID-19. Join us this Friday, 10th April at 16:00 CEST for the live webinar: COVID-19: An unexpected pandemic challenge to unprepared health care systems.

Join the discussion with an expert panel from Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease specialities as they address COVID-19, from Basic Virology to Diagnostics, Infection Prevention and Control and Case Management in various clinical settings.

The webinar is endorsed by the Infection Control Multidisciplinary Joint Committee of UEMS.

Visit the ESCMID E-Academy in order to access this webinar.

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Via EITaF: Lean European Open Survey on SARS-CoV-2 Infected Patients (LEOSS)

Mandated by the ESCMID Emerging Infections Task Force (EITaF) and supported by the German Infectious Disease Society the LEOSS project is designed to better understand the implications of the new virus on patients by systematically documenting patient data. LEOSS is set up as a community project where everyone can contribute.

Find out more on the LEOSS website.

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Care of patients with liver disease during the COVID-19 pandemic: EASL-ESCMID Position Paper

ESCMID and EASL (The European Association for the Study of the Liver) have issued a Position Paper, providing recommendations for clinicians caring for patients with liver diseases during the current pandemic.

The paper outlines some recommendations on the use of outpatient care, ways to reduce direct exposure to COVID-19, and advice on managing patients with compensated/decompensated liver disease, with hepatocellular carcinoma, and following liver transplantation.

You can download the full paper here and it will be published shortly in the open access journal, JHEP Reports.

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COVID-19 pandemic: ESGLI guidance for managing Legionella in building water systems

The ESCMID Study Group for Legionella Infections has issued a guidance document aimed at ensuring building water systems in healthcare and non- healthcare settings are kept safe during and following this pandemic. This includes: public, residential and office buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, educational buildings in both non-residential and residential settings, hotels and other holiday premises such as campsites, cruise ships and other buildings with similar water systems.

You can download the document here.

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COVID-19 Drug interactions website

The University of Liverpool, in conjunction with the University Hospital of Basel and Radboud UMC, have created a comprehensive reference website for checking pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic reactions with commonly-used COVID-19 treatments.

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Guidance on the Management of Clinical Trials during the COVID-19 pandemic

EMA would like to bring to your attention the publication of the “guidance on the management of clinical trials during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic”.

The European Medicines Agency, Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Inspectors Working Group, the Clinical Trials Facilitation and Coordination Group (CTFG, a working group of the Heads of Medicines Agency (HMA)), the Clinical Trials Expert Group (CTEG, a working group of the European Commission representing Ethics Committees and National Competent Authorities) and the European Commission (EC) acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on the health system and broader society, and the impact it may have on clinical trials and trial participants. Extraordinary measures may need to be implemented and trials adjusted due to e.g. trial participants being in self-isolation/quarantine, limited access to public places (including hospitals) due to the risk of spreading infections, and health care professionals being committed to critical tasks.

Therefore, EMA, EC and HMA strongly support the efforts of the GCP Inspectors’ Working Group for developing a harmonised EU/EEA-level guidance to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the conduct of clinical trials.

The situation is evolving, and pragmatic actions may be required to deal with the challenges of conducting research, and in ensuring the rights, safety and wellbeing of participants. The points mentioned below are intended to provide guidance for all parties involved in clinical trials during this time.

Due to the urgency, this guidance is issued without prior public consultation.

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Important EMA communication: COVID-19 – Update on treatment and vaccines under development and information on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

ESCMID would like to bring to your attention the publication of two EMA press releases related to COVID-19:

Please check EMA’s dedicated webpage on COVID-19 for the latest updates.

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ESCMID teleconference with Affiliated Societies

To help share knowledge on the COVID-19 pandemic, ESCMID invited representatives of its Affiliated Societies to a teleconference, which was held on Tuesday, 31 March 2020. More than 20 representatives joined the discussion with the ESCMID Executive Committee; after a brief introduction of the situation in their countries, participants discussed the main challenges in diagnostics and clinical management as well as how to ensure follow up and prevent a second wave of infections after lockdowns are released. Participants agreed on the importance of such international exchange, which will be continued weekly.

The next teleconference will focus on the challenges of PCR-based diagnostics and use of serological tests. It is scheduled for Tuesday, 7 April 2020, 18:00-19:00 pm CEST.


CMI highlight: COVID-19, SARS and MERS: are they closely related?

COVID-19 is the clinical syndrome associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, which is characterized by a respiratory syndrome with a variable degree of severity, ranging from a mild upper respiratory illness to severe interstitial pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Although SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the same betacoronavirus genus of the coronaviruses responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), this novel virus seems to be related to milder infections. Moreover, SARS and MERS were mainly associated with nosocomial spread, whereas SARS-CoV-2 is much widely transmitted in the community. In this review Petrosillo et al. aim to analyse the differences in terms of pathogenesis, epidemiology and clinical features between COVID-19, SARS and MERS.

The authors found that COVID-19 seems to be not very different from SARS regarding the clinical features, and to be less lethal than MERS, which is less related with the other two coronavirus both in terms of phylogenetic and pathogenesis features. COVID-19 generally has a less severe clinical pictures, and thus it can spread in the community more easily than MERS and SARS, which have been frequently reported in the nosocomial setting. The previous knowledge learned from SARS and MERS lessons might have contributed to the institution of more efficient preventive measures in the healthcare settings. The authors conclude that there is still much more to know about COVID-19, especially its epidemiological features however, the lessons learned in the past from the SARS and MERS epidemics are the best cultural weapons to face this new global threat.

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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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