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Ecraid brought insights and expertise to ECCMID 2022

It’s a wrap! The 32nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) which took place from 23-26 April in Lisbon, Portugal, has concluded. Ecraid’s ambassadors joined their peers for the first time since the 2020 congress was cancelled and the one following it was moved online. 

It was also the first time that Ecraid as a foundation took part in the prestigious congress organised by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ESCMID). However, Ecraid’s predecessor, COMBACTE, and Ecraid-affiliated studies have been presenting scientific results at ECCMID for years.

Our programme kicked off on opening day with the Ecraid Work Package Meeting – a comprehensive introduction to Ecraid’s activities. After a short welcome by Ecraid CEO Marc Bonten (University Medical Centre Utrecht), Ana Hernandez (University Hospital Limoges) talked about infections in intensive care patients and POS-VAP. Ana was followed by two other distinguished experts: Jose Bravo-Ferrer (University Hospital Virgen Macarena) discussed complicated urinary tract infections and Fabiana Arieti (University of Verona) presented the work of the EPI-Net epidemiology network.

The Ecraid-organised educational workshop How to make clinical trials more efficient addressed some of the challenges plaguing clinical trials, such as slow progress and a chronic inability to meet targeted recruitment numbers. The speakers argued that a fully operational and well-trained clinical trial network may significantly enhance executional efficiency, and innovative trial designs may reduce the required sample size. 

Henri van Werkhoven (University Medical Center Utrecht, POS-VAP) was adamant that without adaptive platform trials such as REMAP-CAP, the efficiency of COVID-19 research would have been greatly reduced.

“Adaptive platform trials should be considered more often and for a wider range of diseases as they increase the efficiency of finding the best treatment for patients. They do so by adopting superiority and futility stopping rules, changing allocation ratios as evidence for one intervention over the other increases, and studying multiple types of interventions in parallel.” – Henri van Werkhoven

The two-hour event featured presentations by Marouan Zarrouk (AiCuris Anti-infective Cures AG) and Marlieke de Kraker (Geneva University Hospitals, STAT-Net).

What better way to ensure strengthening clinical research in the future than engaging those who will conduct it? At Ecraid’s Young Investigator Workshop, Ana Hernandez, who works for the POS-VAP study in Limoges, was heartened by the attendees’ avid interest in Ecraid’s collaborative approach.

“Being part of a network is a natural idea for younger generations, and when you combine this with the inner motivation of young scientists starting their careers, workshops are bubbling with excitement. People kept asking ‘How can I be part of it?’” – Ana Hernandez

Ana was joined on the floor by Marlieke de Kraker, Fabiana Arieti and Alike van der Velden (University Medical Center Utrecht, POS-ARI in PC).

After two years of pandemic-related obstacles, Herman Goossens finally received the prestigious ESCMID Award for Excellence in Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 2020. It was awarded in recognition of his important contribution to research and education in the field of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. 

During his keynote lecture, Herman looked back at his work over the past 20 years and highlighted some of the important lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“EU clinical research response was too fractured and fragmented, and there was a lack of global leadership and coordination. To prevent this from happening in the future, Europe needs to invest in clinical trial networks and partnerships that allow top-down prioritization of clinical research – that is exactly what Ecraid offers.” – Herman Goossens

Ecraid-affiliated researchers from across Europe also gave presentations during the congress. 

Paris-based Yazdan Yazdanpanah (Bichat Claude Bernard Hospital, EU-RESPONSE) discussed the pros and cons of public engagement in COVID-19, as well as the challenges of vaccinating the whole world. His fellow Ecraid Coordinating Committee Member Marion Koopmans (POS-ER-Disease X) gave two presentations, too: one on the politicisation of science from the perspective of microbiologists, and the second on the interplay between host and viral factors in the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Evelina Tacconelli (University of Verona, EPI-Net) gave a keynote interview on advances in clinical antibacterial resistance research. She also participated in the “Supporting evidence in infection prevention and control: 2022 ESCMID guidelines” symposium, where she discussed surgical prophylaxis in patients colonised with multidrug-resistant Gram-negatives.

On the final day, Marc Bonten provided an overview of recently approved treatments for infections caused by multi-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, as well as future options that are in late-stage clinical development during the New antibiotics in the pipeline: where and what did we get? symposium. 

These are the highlights of Ecraid’s presence at ECCMID 2022. In addition, Ecraid-affiliated experts have contributed to a number of studies presented at the congress.