Experts from the fields of microbiology and infectious disease share their biggest takeaways and highlights from ECCMID 2019.
We sat down with several experts to learn more about their research and presentations and asked them to share what they’re taking home from ECCMID 2019. Here’s what they said:
Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):
Giovanni Rezza, MD: You know, it's really a big conference, it is becoming, maybe, the biggest conference in we have in Europe. But, it's not only a European conference also because there's people coming from all over the world and it's very important to meet in order to discuss many issues. And, the issue of tropical diseases that may expand in some way of course in a temperate area due to climate changes is a big issue because actually we are facing major changes in in in our earth — climate change is 1 of them, globalization is already a reality, so we need new and innovative tools in order to contrast these kinds of emergencies.
Jennifer Schranz, MD: So, this meeting is really important because it really brings together people from different parts of the world to talk about infectious diseases and specifically talk about the importance of the development of new antimicrobials to treat resistant bacterial infections. What's really become clear is that without the ability to continue to create novel antibiotics modern science it's going to be in extreme jeopardy. We wouldn't be having dialysis, transplantation, we wouldn't be using immunosuppressives to treat chronic autoimmune diseases if it wasn't for the antibiotics to support infections in those patients. So, I really think it's critical that we, as a community of physicians and practitioners who are dedicated to improve global public health, that we understand that we need to really have a voice a strong voice to talk about how it's really important for people to invest in anti-infectives.
Laura Shallcross, PhD: So the 1 that I'm really looking forward to is about the transcriptomics; so looking for new ways of diagnosing infection in patients and that's today I think.
Marin Kollef, MD: I think my biggest takeaway from ECCMID, I mean I think there are a couple of things. One, the problem of antibiotic resistance is not going away and I think if anything we expect to see more issues, including in places like the US. So, I think what we need to learn is how we can better identify what the problem pathogens are within our patient populations and I think we need to come up with some newer paradigms for how we address them.
Unfortunately, in many hospitals it's often a simplistic approach where there are certain antibiotics that may be open for clinicians to use and they tend to prefer those when in fact we probably need to have a broader approach to how we treat these patients and understand that for certain infections within certain hosts, certain drugs or drug combinations at specific dosing may be better approaches than what we've done in the past where we tend to try to lump everyone together.
Elizabeth Smith: I really enjoyed the debate yesterday on whether rapid diagnostics has been able to decrease the frequency of antibiotic prescribing. I can tell that there was a lot of passion from both sides and both sides presented really good arguments, so it was really fun to watch all the prescribers and non-prescribers kind of get in on it, vote, and voice their opinions on it.
Vanessa Stevens, PhD: One of my favorite things about ECCMID is just the incredible diversity and strength of the science. There have been a lot of really interesting talks. I think right now I'm very interested in the behavioral-based intervention — so interventions that really target behavior change for stewardship providers. I think those are very exciting evidence-based ways to improve prescribing practices, so I've been really excited to see that research.
Timothy Rawson, MBBS, PhD: So, I think they've been a huge number of highlights this year at ECCMID. Probably 1 of the things I'll take away most is just how much progress is being made in the understanding antimicrobial pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and just how much how far we still have to go in terms of being able to truly individualized therapy. But, I think the more evidence that emerges, actually. the more hopeful you can be that eventually, we will find interventions and technologies to be able to really optimize dosing based on individual parameters.
Tim Minogue, PhD: In particular, the clinical metagenomic session was sort of in our wheelhouse as well. I mean looking at the diagnostics and application of next-generation sequencing, meeting that particular application is an exciting field and I'm not quite sure what the current status is in Europe, but the US is now just starting to get some sort of traction within application and routine diagnostics. I think once we can get that through to some sort of regulatory compliance we'll see that be a much bigger sort of effort. And so that's my other excitement beyond biomarkers, and of course, antimicrobial resistance and everything else is pretty interesting as well.
Steven Tong, PhD: I think it's the networking. There’s great science, but it's also wonderful to meet with colleagues, people who you've read their papers for the last 10 years and you suddenly see that person in person and get to chat to them. And also meeting new colleagues as well and hearing about their cutting-edge science.
And for me, clinical trials that are happening in the Staph aureus and bacteremia space and ideally building collaborations so that we can we can do investigator-initiated studies into the future.
Jose Vazquez, MD: So, I think the unique part about ECCMID is the fact that you have so many different countries, so many different universities from across the world, getting together in 1 site and presenting their research — whether it's bacterial, fungal, parasitic, malaria – everybody's coming together and basically trying to improve your microbiology and infectious disease.
Check out part 1 of our ECCMID highlight reel.