During the current pandemic it has become clear that advice given from governments and experts in such a situation needs to be correct, understandable and consistent. As does how figures are gathered.
During the current crisis this has not been the case. Take, for example, the conflicting advice over the use and usefulness of face-masks and other protective equipment. Areas such as this are key to prevention, as are developing serological testing for this particular virus and developing treatment pathways for Covid-19, alongside treatment for existing diseases.
Regarding testing in general, this is such a central aspect of personalised medicine. we now live in a world of biomarkers and molecular diagnostics, aiding prevention and early diagnosis, and theoretically of particular benefit in the context of Covid-19.
Biomarkers certainly have a job to do, too, in modern personalised medicine. We need more of these that are relevant to treatment.
Unfortunately, the barriers in respect of data sharing mean that risks related to data security and privacy can have a paralysing effect on progress.
Back to testing, per se. There are obvious issues concerning who to test, when to test, and how to test, what resources are needed, who will conduct the tests, and what systems are needed for analysing and for providing feedback loops to decision makers.
One thing is clear, there is an overwhelming need for quality in testing, and the development of minimal and optimal testing requirements should be considered. But we need to consider how do we reach a target of agreement between all partners and all Member States.
Also, while the current public highest-of-high regard for healthcare professionals (HCPs) is to be welcomed, there needs the right methodology to tackle gaps in healthcare systems – not least the need for testing.
We need a serious look at the need for up-skilling of HCPs, as well as coordination in terms of guidelines across all areas of diagnosis, treatment and quality of life later.
Chair: Alastair Kent, Formerly Director of Genetic Alliance UK
Flora Giorgio, Head of Sector, HTA, Directorate General. Health and Food Safety, DG SANTE (TBC)
Joern-Peter Halle, Head of Research, Global R&D Healthcare, Merck KGaA
Benedikt Westphalen, University Hospital Munich, Department of Internal Medicine III &Comprehensive Cancer CenterMunich, Germany
Inaki Gutierrez Ibarluzea, Director of Organisational and Managerial Innovation of the Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research
Marco Greco, President, European Patient Forum
Dipak Kalra, President, The European Institute for Innovation throughHealth Data (i~HD)