ESWI’s aim is to reduce the burden of influenza in Europe and it takes an impressive lot of actions to achieve that goal. Here’s our 2017 activity report.
ESWI actively encourages the careers of promising influenza researchers. As part of that endeavour it disseminates awards for the best oral and the best poster presentation by a young scientist at its triennial ESWI Influenza Conferences.
During the recent 6th ESWI Influenza Conference in Riga, session chairs and co-chairs had been asked to evaluate Young Scientists contributions and from the collected scores, two laureates have been selected:
- Best Oral Presentation Award 2017 goes to Bernadeta Dadonaite, University of Oxford, for her talk entitled “Analysis of the higher order RNA structures present inside the Influenza A virus genome”
- Best Poster Presentation Award 2017 goes to Carina Conceiçao, University of Edinburgh, for her poster entitled “Avian Influenza A virus budding morphology: spherical or filamentous?”
Both prize winner will receive an official certificate. They will also receive free registration, travel and accommodation for the 7th ESWI Influenza Conference in 2020. In early 2020, they will be invited to submit an abstract of their latest influenza research, which will be assessed by the Conference Programme Committee in view of selecting the speakers for the 2020 Young Scientists Plenary Session.
Congratulations to Bernadeta and Carina!
On 25 October 2017, the diabetes community joined forces to pave the way towards an improved protection of diabetes patients. In fact, patient organizations, healthcare professionals and academic experts assembled in Leuven, Belgium, for a roundtable discussion organized by the Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND) and ESWI. The main take home messages of this important event have now been summarized in this easy-to-grasp fact sheet.
People with diabetes face a higher risk for influenza and its complications. National and international guidelines therefore advise that diabetes patients be annually vaccinated against influenza.
The evidence that underpins these guidelines has long been fragmented and underexposed. Consequently, attention for the impact of influenza on diabetes patients is low and so is the influenza vaccine uptake in this group, despite WHO’s target to routinely vaccinate 75% of all people at high risk. It was therefore high time to assemble all currently available data about the impact of influenza on diabetes patients and to review current influenza prevention strategies. ESWI has undertaken this important endeavour and in its recently paper (published in Vaccine Journal on 12 September 2017), ESWI has reviewed the scientific base for recommending routine vaccination of diabetes patients against influenza.
The FP7 FLUNIVAC project aims to pave the way to the development of a universal influenza vaccine. ESWI is FLUNIVAC’s communication partner and has now prepared a brand new version of the FLUNIVAC newsletter, highlighting the project’s recent advances. The newsletter is available here. Feel free to disseminate the document to anyone you think might be interested.
ESWI will be traveling to Riga, the capital of Latvia, from 10 to 13 September 2017 to hold the sixth edition of its triennial European influenza conferences. The 6th ESWI Influenza Conference will be 2017’s premier influenza conference, offering its delegates four days of wall-to-wall science and networking. It will provide comprehensive, state-of-the art scientific information for virologists, pulmonary specialists, epidemiology researchers and other infectious diseases specialists. A pdf file of the final conference programme is available here.
Late breaker abstracts can still be submitted for oral and poster presentations until 15 August. Guidelines for online submission are available on our conference webpage through this link.
Influenza is a serious public health problem. During winter seasons, it spreads easily through schools, hospitals, nursing homes, towns and businesses, while its impact is the highest in those most at risk, such as the elderly, young infants and pregnant women. In order to reduce the impact of seasonal influenza, efficient prevention and treatment strategies should be implemented. Preparedness, prevention and treatment strategies will be at the core of the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference. The conference has a tailor-made programme track for public health officials/policy makers, specifically designed to foster the exchange of knowledge and practice at the interface of science and health policy. The final tailor-made programme is now ready. Click here to download the full programme schedule.
ESWI has been working with WONCA Europe (the European branch of the world organization of national colleges and academies of general practitioners) since 2009. Both organizations share the objective to improve the management of influenza by general practitioners during seasonal and pandemic outbreaks of flu. This is urgently needed to solve the paradox where primary care physicians play a crucial role in protecting their patients from influenza infection by providing clear, scientific advice about the benefits of influenza vaccination for at-risk groups. But despite the scientific evidence as well as the efforts to encourage influenza vaccination, the overall vaccination rates among risk groups and healthcare workers remain low. A systematic overview of all aspects of influenza from the family physicians’ perspective is hence urgently needed and that is exactly why EUROPREV, a WONCA Special Interest Group dedicated to prevention and health promotion, and ESWI will join forces at the occasion of the WONCA 2017 conference in Prague (28 June – 1 July 2017). ESWI and EUROPREV will hold a joint symposium on 29 June 2017, gathering experts from various disciplines to discuss the crucial role of care physicians in influenza vaccination and to provide an overview of scientific arguments for primary care physicians to get the annual flu vaccine. The symposium will be chaired by EUROPREV’s Mateja Bulc and ESWI’s Ted van Essen.
View the symposium programme announcement here
Check the WONCA conference website here
15 May 2017 was the deadline for applications to obtain travel funding for the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference through the Young Scientist Fund. No less than 97 travel grant applications from early career scientists have been submitted and the Evaluation Committee is very pleased to have received so many outstanding entries. The decision process, however, will be challenging and therefore judging will be extended with an additional week. Applicants will be notified of acceptance of their submission no later than 8 June 2017.
Annually occurring influenza remains an important public health problem in Europe. The disease puts considerable pressure on health care services with increased general practice consultation rates, hospital admissions, and excess deaths. It also leads to increased days lost of absence from work and school.
Influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease and WHO recommends vaccination of prioritized groups, including young children (aged 6 to 59 months). Despite WHO recommendations, however, only five EU Member States recommend routine vaccination of healthy children. Obviously, diversity in vaccination recommendations translates in varying influenza vaccine uptake rates in priority groups in general and in children in particular.
Based on the observations above, ESWI developed a tailor-made colloquium programme for leaders in paediatrics, family doctors, paediatricians, public health officials, regulatory authorities and academic influenza researchers. It will address possible hurdles for childhood vaccination, compare the various influenza vaccination programmes and spark the debate on updated, well-balanced policies to better protect children against influenza.
The event will be held at the Faculty Club of the University of Leuven on 14 June 2017.
Participation in the colloquium is free of charge, but places are limited. Check the colloquium programme and register now to secure your seat.