Welcome to issue 14 of Health Europa Quarterly, which once again is inexorably overshadowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As lockdown restrictions begin to lift and concerns grow in many countries over the prospect of a ‘second wave’ of infection, HEQ examines an array of infection control solutions and investigates the differing responses to the virus between nations – from New Zealand’s emphasis on communication and collaboration to mask-burning groups in the USA.
Issue 14 is introduced by Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, showcasing the UK’s progress in developing a vaccine (or vaccines) against COVID-19 and highlighting the risks of misinformation. 170 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are currently in development around the world and seven have already reached the Phase 3 stage of undergoing large-scale clinical trials, with researchers hoping to produce and scale a functional vaccine within 12 to 18 months: a uniquely short timeframe for vaccine development, which typically takes years.
Much of this issue is given over to the unprecedentedly pressing issue of infection prevention and control, with contributors including the World Health Organization, Icelandic and Swedish Ministers of Health, and the European Commission detailing the need for comprehensive, co-ordinated infection control measures. Dr Paul De Raeve, General Secretary of the European Federation of Nurses Associations, highlights the need for international collaboration in the fight against the virus; while the Nursing and Midwifery Council outlines its plan to meet the challenges faced by nurses and nursing in the years to come.
We take a look at technology and innovation in the health and care sectors, covering blockchain, telehealth, and occupational therapies, before moving on to the treatment and care of non-COVID-19 diseases and conditions; as Dr Lucy Allen, Director of Research at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, explores research, challenges and collaboration in the treatment of cystic fibrosis. Joanne Hackett, formerly of Genomics England, tells us about the implications of genomic medicine and personalised care for the treatment of rare diseases. This is followed by an embedded e-book by Austrian MPS Society co-founder Susanne Kircher, talking about mucopolysaccharide storage disorders, a group of rare chronic diseases which typically manifest in early childhood.
Mental health has become a serious secondary concern during the pandemic, with many sources warning of an impending crisis in mental health care. We speak to Zoe Ecclestone of The Wellbeing Business about the need to shore up wellbeing in the workplace, and Professor John Wilding, President of the World Obesity Federation, tells us about the mental and physical issues surrounding obesity and weight management. The book closes with our healthcare in practice section, with the Active Citizenship Network exploring good practice in the treatment of chronic pain.
Health Europa Quarterly