COVID-19 hub page
As the world is hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and biomedical sector is playing an active role in addressing a crisis that has put an increasing number of lives at risk and health systems under severe strain. Many of our member academies, their individual members and our partners and sister networks are currently involved in the adoption of public health measures by national governments to control the spread of infection, the development of guidance for health care professionals in providing urgent care in challenging circumstances, research and development activities to develop new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, and cross-sectoral cooperation to address shortages of medical supplies, equipment and medicines.
While the World Health Organisation and European authorities have been key to responding promptly to this global crisis, the crisis has also highlighted the pressing need to strengthen pan-European cooperation in health and biomedical research.
Key coronavirus advice and information
FEAM’s activities during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Ensuring urgent access to monoclonal antibody Bebtelovimab for immunosuppressed patients outside of the US – a Letter in the Financial Times accessible on LinkedIn by Prof. Michel Goldman, Member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine, President of I3Health, Free University of Brussels, and FEAM representative on the HERA Civil Society Advisory Forum – 5 August 2022.
- New Horizon 2020 research project Periscope (Pan-European Response to the Impacts of COVID-19 and future Pandemics and Epidemics).
- Crisis resilience: FEAM has led the coordination of a call for experts to contribute to a new joint advice, that was published on 11 November 2020. Experts nominated by SAPEA supported the Group of Chief Scientific Advisers, the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies and Prof Peter Piot (special advisor to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen) with their development of advice on COVID-19, future pandemics and other crises in the global context.
- FEAM Forum webinar on COVID-19 and One Health: can we do better? organised with FVE – 8 July 2020
- Statement on Strengthening EU cooperation in health, FEAM Board -12 June 2020
- Statement on Protecting medical personnel from COVID-19, FEAM Board -7 April 2020
- Statement by FEAM President, Professor George Griffin, Emeritus Professor of Infectious Diseases at St. George’, University of London and Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences expressing concerns about the COVID-19 situation and welcoming efforts of the WHO and EU institution in supporting national authorities and research and medical communities – 12 March 2020
- Opinion pieces ‘Chronicle of a Pandemic Foretold’ and ‘Towards Stronger EU Governance of Health Threats after the COVID-19 Pandemic’ by Dr. Andrea Renda (Senior Research Fellow at CEPS) and Dr. Rosa Castro (FEAM Senior Scientific Policy Officer) – 23 March 2020 and 9 April 2020
Activities by FEAM Member Academies
- The Austrian Academy of Sciences is collaborating with the Medical University of Vienna to sequence 1,000 viral genomes from patient-derived samples, with other institutions to enhance test capacity, and organised a dialogue to discuss lessons from the crisis. New prize: a call for essays in several European languages on What can science do in pandemics? was published with a deadline of 31 December 2020 (awards amounting to 24 000 euros to the 3 best responses).
- The Royal National Spanish Academy of Medicine published a statement and has organised several scientific discussions on COVID-19.
- The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) supplemented its 2013 medical-ethic guidelines on “Intensive Care interventions” with an annex on triage decisions for intensive-care treatment under resource scarcity.
- The Hungarian Academy of Sciences is gathering scientific resources related to the current COVID-19 outbreak and published a statement with recommendations for decision makers.
- The German National Academy of Sciences “Leopoldina” has published several statements with recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemics.
- The UK Academy of Medical Sciences has developed an online Coronavirus information hub including information about its current research and policy COVID-19 projects and comments by its experts.
- The French Academy of Medicine has published numerous statements with recommendations for the current outbreak, including on the use of diagnostic tests, ethical principles for clinical trials, and healthcare for undocumented migrants. Read their last statement on “Extending the time between the two injections of the Covid-19 vaccine: what risks for what benefits?”, here.
- The French Academy of Pharmacy has published several statements, including a joined statement with the French Academy of Medicine on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.
- The Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine (ARMB) has developed a Coronavirus information hub, which includes links to their statements and discussions.
- The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium (KAGB) has published statements with advice to policymakers on COVID-19.
- The Lithuanian Academy of Sciences has published COVID-19 statements and information from other Academies and networks, including FEAM in a hub page.
- The Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences is publishing COVID-19 information in a hub page.
- The Czech Medical Academy has published a statement on COVID-19.
- The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences organised several webinars on COVID-19, which are available on their YouTube channel. Recently, the medical scientists of the Dutch academy explained the science behind the vaccination process and why they will take the vaccine.
Activities by other national Academies and sister academic networks
- The Polish Academy of Sciences has published a statement with policy advice and news on their Institutes’ research developments.
- SAPEA is collating information on current academic activities and on how science can help fight COVID-19.
- The InterAcademy Partnership has set up a hub page collating activities from its member academies and published a statement calling for global solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The German Academy of Science and Engineering has published a report on the Coronavirus crisis with a focus on innovation.
- EASAC has published a commentary with recommendations on COVID-19 recovery.
Activities by partners of the FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum
The opinion of individual experts from the FEAM academic network
Italian National Academy of Medicine (AccMed)
“During COVID-19 outbreak, the continuum of cancer care must be ensured. Despite the lack of evidence of a higher COVID infection rate in cancer patients, the risks of any anti-cancer therapy should be carefully assessed case-by-case. A thorough and rapid reorganization of Institutional clinical activity led medical and radiation oncologists to develop alternative strategies to take care of cancer patients, especially due to the reduced surgical activity secondary to the shortage of ICU beds. The needs of cancer patients cannot wait for the end of the pandemic and require physicians’ commitment more than ever. Cancer care is not a choice.”
Prof Armando Santoro, Scientific Director at AccMed, Humanitas Cancer Center, IRCCS Clinical Institute Humanitas (Milan – Italy)
Royal Academy of Veterinary Sciences of Spain
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to adopt a “One Health integrated approach” and my Academy looks forward to contributing to the policy work of FEAM in this field. Developing treatments to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis should be the immediate priority of the biomedical community engagement but it will be important to investigate the zoonotic disease and infection origins of the virus in humans to inform policy-makers on sanitary measures to adopt early on in order to prevent similar outbreaks in the future”.
Prof. Arturo Ramón Anadón Navarro, President of the Royal Academy of Veterinary Sciences of Spain
French Veterinary Academy (AVF)
The AVF – supported by the French Academy of Medicine – calls for the production of large-scale Covid-19 tests in collaboration with French producers of veterinary reagents who have the expertise in the diagnosis of coronavirus infections in animals. The two Academies implement into practice the concept “One health” advocated by international organizations like World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The National Academy of Medicine therefore recommends French Health Authorities to issue an exceptional authorization to these manufacturers and laboratories in the veterinary sector as part of the current health emergency.
“The AVF urges the health authorities to examine this possibility with the greatest attention. Veterinary medicine represents an important valence of public health as suggested by the ‘One Health’ approach designed to implement programmes, legislation and research values within a multi-sectoral dimension stimulating collaborations to achieve better public health outcomes.”
Prof André Laurent Parodi, Co-Chair FEAM One Health Committee