COVID-19 Conference: Sharing the International lessons learned

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British Royal Society of Medicine and Kantor Charitable Foundation Hold Global COVID-19 Clinical Conference

Dr Moshe Kantor: “Right now, our world is like a bus with two wheels hanging off an abyss. And it depends on our coordination and collaboration whether we fall into the abyss or stand on all four wheels and move to our mutual future!”

(LONDON, 27 JULY 2020) The British Royal Society of Medicine and the Kantor Charitable Foundation held an international COVID-19 conference to consolidate global key clinical findings on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment and help clinicians around the world prepare for and mitigate the impact of future outbreaks.

The conference brought together an international faculty of leading clinicians, researchers, and scientists to explore COVID-19 therapy practices and the course of the disease based on lessons learned from respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological responses to COVID-19. During the four sessions, the international team of public health experts discussed current COVID-19 research and vaccine development, as well as future management strategies and key lessons learned from this pandemic.

“Right now, our world is like a bus with two wheels hanging off an abyss. All eight billion of us are inside the cabin, and it depends on our coordination and collaboration whether we fall into the abyss or stand on all four wheels and move to our mutual future”, said Dr Moshe Kantor, Chairman of the Kantor Charitable Foundation and President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC).

“COVID-19 has sharply aggravated an already critical situation in the area of extremism. We are seeing harsh manifestations of multidirectional racism. Therefore, combatting this pandemic has become more than a global issue – it’s an existential fight for our future”, emphasized Dr Kantor. “History has shown us that pandemic, and the chaos it creates, can cause lasting damage, not just in terms of global economic shock, mass unemployment and widespread uncertainty. It can create fertile soil for the politics of despair and division. Remember that the last great pandemic, the Spanish flu, was quickly followed by the great depression and a rise in extremism which took over the power in Europe and division which led to the tragedy of the Second World War”.

“Policymakers must be persuaded to think about strategies for preventing infectious diseases”, said Professor Sian Griffiths of Public Health England. “People in general must be healthier to prevent the grave effects of coronavirus infection”. She also spoke about the importance of reducing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and fighting obesity.

Professor Robin Shattock from Imperial College London address COVID-19 vaccine development. According to Professor Shattock, 24 vaccines are currently under clinical assessment and approximately 160 vaccines are under development. However, proof of effectiveness is a major issue. Professor Shattock emphasized that we need a vaccine that prevents infection and therefore the disease itself. He reminded the audience that a vaccine will need to be accessible globally, including countries with underdeveloped economies, not only in wealthy countries that can afford to buy the maximum possible number of potentially effective vaccines. In his opinion, the development of a large number of new vaccines and targeted distribution programmes will ease access for emerging economies.

“Wearing protective masks, hand washing and social distancing save thousands if not millions of lives”, noted Dr Charles Powell from Mount Sinai-National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute in New York. “Today, we do not have a clear understanding of the various symptoms. One person has no symptoms at all, while some patients show very severe responses. Even if a patient survives COVID-19, in many cases the virus causes chronic disease with multiple organ dysfunction. We have to work across disciplines. This is an international disease, and the virus does not care what country it infects. When it’s all over, I hope we manage to create a more favourable situation than the situation that followed the Spanish flu outbreak”.

According to Dr Emily Holmes from Uppsala University in Sweden, we need to take the mental health effects of COVID-19 more seriously. “This is the first pandemic that is extensively covered by the media. People are bombed with information. We need to think about the mental effect the media has on people, primarily on elderly people and children. Body and mind are strongly interconnected. We need to join our efforts to develop more rational forms of treatment. We need to find treatments that leverage the fact that people around the world use smartphones. Let’s use innovative forms of treatment”.

Lord Ajay Kakkar of University College in London focused on the intravascular symptoms of deep veins thrombosis accompanying COVID-19, distributed anatomically: traditional arterial thrombosis (which can cause heart attack and stroke) and venous thrombosis and neutrophil extracellular traps formation (mainly in small vessels in the lungs and other organs). “These comorbidities matter, and we need to detect them as early as possible. It is imperative to conduct large-scale research with a large number of participants. Many of them are likely to have long-term effects on their cardiovascular system”, he said.

Dr Andrew Russman from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio said that we need to create healthcare systems that can adapt to any patient. “We are talking about broad segments of the population with different incomes, people from different social classes. We need to adjust our healthcare institutions to take an individual approach to each patient”.

Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal Society of Medicine, pointed out that health is much more than the sum of the functions of all the body’s systems. “There is also the economic factor and many other factors. A lot depends on whether we are going to work together. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately’”.

The conference was held in collaboration with major US medical education and research centres the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic.

International business leader and philanthropist Dr Moshe Kantor, whose charitable foundation supported the conference and speakers from the UK, the United States, India, Europe, and Africa, addressed the conference.

About the Royal Society of Medicine

The Royal Society of Medicine is a leading provider of continuing postgraduate education and learning to the medical profession. Its mission is to advance health through education and innovation. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the RSM has played a crucial role in supporting clinicians during the crisis. The ground-breaking RSM COVID-19 Series webinar programme continues to make an impact among health professionals and the public seeking essential knowledge and expertise about the disease.

About the Kantor Charitable Foundation

The Kantor Charitable Foundation oversees the philanthropic efforts of Dr Moshe Kantor in the UK. Its work is motivated by Dr Kantor’s commitment to education and the eradication of intolerance, xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism. Causes that the Kantor Charitable Foundation supports in the UK include the Anna Freud Centre, the King Edward VII Hospital, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Royal Institution, and the Royal Opera House.