SGM/SSM/SSM: Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Mikrobiologie
1. The joint annual meeting of the SSM and the Swiss Society for Infectious Diseases (SSI) and the Swiss Society for Hospital Hygiene (SSHH) was scheduled to take place in Geneva on September 2nd and 4th. However, due to the pandemic and after careful assessment of the risk, the SSM committee decided to postpone to 2021 the SSM-related part of the meeting. Unfortunately, the continuous uncertainty prompted us to decide early in the year that the postponed meeting will be held on-line. Nonetheless, we would like to indicate that the General Assembly of the Society took place on-line allowing us to move forward with important changes in our statues, in particular concerning the creation of a new “student member” category, and an. Update of our grant and award rules.
2. The active participation of the SSM committee members to the project on antibiotic resistance StAR led by the confederation as well as their role in the Steering Group of StAR (J. Schrenzel).
3. The participation of the Coordination Commission of Clinical Microbiology in the discussions concerning the revision of the cost of microbiological analyses in Switzerland.
4. The Coordination Commission of Clinical Microbiology was a leading force in many diagnostic related topic of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic including e.g. technical validation of rapid antigen testing, recommendation for test strategies and sample materials, coordination of variant-specific PCRs and sequencing.
Goncalves Cabacinhas AE, Roloff T, Stange M, Bertelli C, Huber M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 N501Y Introductions and Transmissions in Switzerland from Beginning of October 2020 to February 2021 – Implementation of Swiss-Wide Diagnostic Screening and Whole Genome Sequencing. Microorganisms 2021 Mar 25 ;9(4) :677.
Series of non-peer reviewed expert recommendations regarding SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. See: www.swissmicrobiology.ch
The SCNAT Rigi Workshop “Cell Biology of Infection” is organized by Hubert Hilbi and Urs Greber. The program of the 3-days interdisciplinary workshop includes national and international keynote speakers, short talks, poster presentations and a teamwork project. The workshop was originally planned to be held from January 31st – February 2nd 2021, but due to the unpredictable Covid-19 situation had to be postponed to 2022. The new date of the workshop has been set to January 30th - February 1st, 2022.
The SSM is affiliated to the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID). ESCMID wants to encourage participation of young members to the society and a young member should be elected in each affiliated society. Florian Tagini (Fribourg) is the current young member elected to represent SSM, whereas G. Greub remains in his role as the main senior member representing SSM at ESCMID. The ECCMID meeting initially planned in Paris in April 2020 has been cancelled due to Coronavirus outbreak. Next ECCMID will take place in Vienna.
A series of short 1h TELCO are organized starting 31th March from 6 to 7 pm between the different representatives of the national societies affiliated to the ESCMID in order to share information between national societies. G. Greub represented SSM during the first TELCO. This first TELCO was very general and its aim was mainly to have an overview of the current situation in the different countries participating (n=15). Discussions regarding microbiology were mainly focused on RT-PCR diagnostic tests and serological tests. These webinars were mainly held in Spring 2020.
The SSM is also affiliated to the SULM (union of laboratory medicine). A member of the SSM committee (G.Greub) is a member of the Editorial board of the Journal of the SULM (Pipettes). In addition, SSM helds a joint meeting with SULM approx. every 6-8 years; the last meeting took place in Bern in 2016.
SSM is a member of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS). Prof. C. Holliger represents SSM but the Council meeting 2020 was cancelled.
The CCCM-SSM is also in close contact with ESGMD, a working group of ESCMID to organize together EQA for SARS-CoV-2 (EQA for SARS-CoV-2 genomics will be developed in 2021).
In order to promote future careers, the SSM has modified its Statues to include a Student member category to encourage the enrollment of young members to the Society. Moreover, the Award and Travel rules to include additional encouragement tools including “Awards delivered during a Scientific Meeting” and “Assistance for the organization of international and national events”. Moreover, in addition to our Society Award, we have created a new outstanding PhD award to encourage exceptional PhDs carried out in the field across Switzerland.
Although the SSM maintained its commitment to support its junior members with travel grants, none of those could be used in 2020 due to exceptional situation generated by the global pandemic.
The Coordination Commission of Clinical Microbiology has initiated together with the Federal Office of Public Health and the national reference center CRIVE a program to (i) screen for SARS-CoV-2 variants, namely the N501Y mutants – the results have recently been published; and (ii) actively supports a sequencing program of SARS-CoV-2 for surveillance. Members of that commission actively work on a shared database to exchange genomic sequencing and epidemiological information across centers in order to better understand transmission pattern and support public health recommendations.
The Coordination Commission of Clinical Microbiology has developed in three languages a Frequently Asked Question section focusing on microbiological diagnostics, in particular SARS-CoV-2.