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Ecraid CLIN-Net

Interview with first ECL Council Chair and Vice-Chair

Prof. Oana Săndulescu and Assoc. Prof. Pontus Naucler were recently elected Chair and Co-Chair by the members of the Ecraid Clinical Liaison (ECL) Council. We spoke to them at ESCMID Global 2024 about their new roles and the importance of setting up a strong ECL network.


Ecraid’s hospital network CLIN-Net relies on the active involvement of the Ecraid Clinical Liaisons (ECLs) to provide advice on a country’s feasibility for a study, share knowledge on country-specific regulations and potential hurdles, and propose suitable sites while helping to engage them. The ECL Council comprises key opinion leaders, stakeholders, and network members from across Europe.

Recently, the ECL Council elected its first Chair and Vice-Chair: Prof. Oana Săndulescu (Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest; National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Balș”, Romania) and Assoc. Prof. Pontus Naucler (Karolinska University Hospital; Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden) respectively. We spoke to them at ESCMID Global about their roles and the importance of setting up a strong ECL network that can not only contribute to the efficient running of clinical trials, but also enhance Ecraid’s clinical network.  


What do the roles of the ECL Chair and Vice-chair entail? 

Oana: We are currently in the process of defining these roles, and it's great to have this flexibility. The main focus is on bringing people together and strengthening the networks that Ecraid has established.  

Pontus: We essentially act as a bridge between the national networks and Ecraid. As Oana mentioned, we don't have a specific script to follow yet. We are currently in the process of setting things up and have had several meetings about it. 


What made you accept the roles of ECL Chair and Vice-Chair? 

Pontus: Having strong national hubs is fundamental for Ecraid’s success. This presents a great opportunity to share our experience and learn from other ECLs, as well as being a source of knowledge for those with less experience and helping them in their work at a national level. 

Oana: Each of the ECLs involved are remarkable professionals. Being able to work with such a group is simply an opportunity to further expand on the work they do. It is like putting together pieces of a puzzle and seeing the bigger picture. 


For how long have you known Ecraid? 

Oana: For a couple of years now. Ecraid is becoming increasingly prominent in the clinical research field and the scientific community. It's crucial to be part of this growing network as it is taking shape and turning into something global. 

Pontus: I’ve known Ecraid for a little over two years and was a natural step to join, given my activities and experience. During the pandemic especially, it became evident that conducting large clinical trials in multiple countries simultaneously and then consolidating the results was crucial. This approach allows us to bring both scientific advancements and pertinent results to patients more rapidly. 


What can you contribute to the ECL network as Chair and as Vice chair? 

Oana: Each country has its own specific expertise and challenges. I'd like to start by listening to each of our ECLs. This will help us improve our approach in different country settings, learn from each other and collaborate effectively. 

Pontus: It’s very important to understand the structure of each ECL’s national network in their respective country and how that can interact with Ecraid. In Sweden, we have established a national network over the past few years, and we can share our knowledge about what has worked well and what hasn't. I'm sure there are many individuals with valuable experiences and insights. Incorporating this knowledge can drive our progress forward.  


Why do you think Ecraid is important?  

Pontus: It became clear during the COVID-19 pandemic that working only within our own nations or countries is too limiting. We need to collaborate globally. This has been demonstrated in the case of many other diseases as well. The SNAP trial1 on S. aureus is a good example, with over 2000 patients having been randomized globally. Collaborating is a much more efficient way to advance science and produce results. 

Oana: Ecraid is all about coming together and working towards a common goal. It's about doing things efficiently while learning from past experiences. It's about being open to new research methodologies that are fully applicable to the constantly changing field of infectious diseases. 

Ecraid is a mechanism that helps us stay dynamic in responding to public health challenges. 
1Learn more about SNAP and Ecraid’s role in this trial here