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Una Health stay up-to-date: take home messages from ECCMID 2022

Written by: Carolyne Horner

Date: 03.05.22

At the end of April 2022, Carolyne Horner represented Una Health by attending the 32nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), held online and in-person, in Lisbon Portugal.

The meeting comprised four days of educational workshops, meet-the-expert sessions, presentations, industry symposia, not to mention two exhibition halls with over 180 companies present, posters and e-posters! The meeting also provided an opportunity to catch-up with representatives from our partners NG Biotech and TECHLAB®.

Aside from COVID-19, there were plenty of other topics covered in the Congress, examples include, rapid diagnostic tools to inform prudent antibiotic prescribing; an exploration of novel findings associated with the human microbiome; updated epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance, and the role of genomics in diagnostics and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.

Below are three learning points that were particular noteworthy:

  • The availability of rapid diagnostics doesn’t make a lot of difference if people don’t believe the results of the test and don’t change their prescribing behaviour. High quality, well-controlled trials of rapid/point-of-care diagnostics are needed to provide strong evidence but these must be supported by behaviour change interventions. One seminal trial that has included implementation and behavioural aspects is the INHALE project. Coordinated by University College London, the trial “aims to compare patient outcomes, define impact on antimicrobial stewardship and assess clinicians’ perceptions and acceptance of the chosen molecular diagnostic test and its value for money.”
  • Professor Martin Blaser gave a fascinating keynote lecture entitled: “Pathogens and the microbiome: antibiotics at the crossroads” where he elegantly described how the decimation of our microbiota, due to poor diet, exposure to antimicrobials (antiseptics, antibiotics etc), could be the leading cause of the rise in diseases such as asthma, obesity, juvenile diabetes, and intestinal disorders, to name but a few. Prof. Blaser has written a book ‘Missing Microbes’ and is the main character in a film ‘The Invisible Extinction’, both of which are accessible ways to find out more about how we mistreat our gut microbes at our peril.
  • And as if that wasn’t worrying enough, presentations that described the prevalence of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria in locations around the world were frightening! For instance, the rate of NDM-positive Enterobacterales is up to 35% in certain countries!

It was very pleasing to be back at ECCMID after a two-year hiatus. While online events have kept the scientific community connected during the pandemic, there is no substitute for the rich, and sometimes random, interactions of an in-person meeting.  Here’s looking forward to the 33rd ECCMID in Copenhagen in 2023!