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APAAACI Presidential Message: March/April 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Warm greetings from APAAACI!


We are at the end of April and the world is a different place. In the last 2 months the world has faced one of its biggest challenges, the pandemic SARS-Cov 2. As one country is making steps to ease the ‘Stay Home’ regulations, the next is starting to hunker down to flatten the curve. The number of infected people and the death toll is rising alarmingly posing a threat to the lives of people, the survival of the health care workers who are fighting on the frontlines, and the economies. We are living through an unprecedented bio-physio and socio-economic crisis, where we as physicians should be the voice of reason and lead by example. We are learning new things every day as the information of COVID-19 keeps evolving. We must evaluate and critically analyze and appraise the evidence in deciding how to treat these patients and act rapidly but judiciously with reason. Many countries are fast tracking the development of vaccines, and some are already in clinical trials (refer here). There will be a gradual return to normal but perhaps a “New Normal” for the foreseeable future for everyone, at least till we have the novel drugs/or a vaccine in place to stop the spread for COVID-19.


Although providing knowledge-exchange online has always been one of the visions of APAAACI, we do value the importance of face to face meetings as a key element to our success. Developing and nurturing the future generation and conducting key strategy and critical thinking meetings is core to our vision. So while APAAACI will continue its primary mission of educating by conducting our in-person meetings we will also conduct online platforms of education via scheduled theme-based webinars that will serve as a continuous platform for everyone to be updated on the new developments that are taking place.


We will continue to be engaged in the frontline on COVID-19 and trying to stay up to date on the research that is made available daily. However, we do not forget that we serve those with Asthma, Allergies and Immunological diseases. As such, we welcome your suggestions for Webinar subjects which can be communicated to our secretariat (secretariat@apaaaci.org).


COVID-19 Updates

As we all know, the novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov 2) pandemic (COVID-19) is a rapidly evolving situation and it is now affecting over 3 million people in 210 countries and territories. For this we provide you with the essential resources and updated information and guidance from WHO, CDC, and professional sites like ours. Supporting COVID-19 articles we have provided can be found below:


  1. https://www.who.int

  2. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

In other news, Dr. Fauci describes the complicated timeline of creating a vaccine for a disease like COVID-19, including the different stages of development and the risks that have to be taken into consideration before releasing to the public. It is also seen that patients with advanced Covid-19 who received the experimental drug remdesivir recovered faster than similar patients who received placebo:


  1. Timeline And Risks Of Creating A COVID-19 Vaccine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrWAqpPGAxQ&feature=youtu.be

  2. New Finding COVID-19 Drug - Remdesivir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdqlNNAEju0&feature=youtu.be


With my greatest respects, I would like to express my deep grief on the sad demise of many of our colleagues who have courageously fought COVID-19 in the frontlines. Our deepest condolences go out to our colleague and mentor to many PSAAI members, Dr Sally Gatchalian as she sadly succumbed to COVID-19 and passed away on 26 March 2020. We thank Dr Sally for her dedicated efforts to save the lives of COVID patients and may her soul rest in peace. Read More


This month we feature, Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Mumbai, India who is on the Core Committee of doctors elected by the Indian government to inform Mumbai’s COVID-19 pandemic response. He is a consultant respiratory specialist physician attached to the Parsee General Hospital, Hinduja Hospital, and Breach Candy Hospitals.



Learn more about COVID-19 from Dr. Udwadia’s presentation on the signs and treatment options for COVID-19: https://youtu.be/Zt9AR3Vkc3Q


Air Pollution May Be 'Key Contributor' To Covid-19 Deaths - study: Read More

The current study highlights the impact on air pollution on COVID-19. APAAACI recently published a white paper on climate change and air pollution (view release) indicating the susceptibility of our population.



GLOBAL TOWN HALL on COVID-19 and Allergies: Lectures and authentic information materials as well as surveys are coming soon.



March/April Society News: Workshop on Eosinophils in Allergy and Related Diseases (WEA)

APAAACI-WEA Collaboration Release

In 2019, among several collaborations, the Asia Pacific Association of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology (APAAACI) and the Workshop on Eosinophils in Allergy and Related Diseases (WEA) led by Prof. Makoto Nagata (Japan) agreed upon a joint collaboration starting with the publication of the proceedings of the 2019 annual meeting among other collaborative initiatives including the APAAACI eosinophil committee. Here we present the first publication in the April issue of Asia Pacific Allergy as a dedicated issue for selected papers covering different aspects of eosinophil science presented ranging from mechanisms of eosinophilic inflammation to eosinophilic inflammation in asthma, eosinophilic esophagitis, urticaria, and impact of environmental factors on eosinophilic inflammation presented at the annual meeting of WEA, Tokyo 2019 held under the leadership of Prof. Hiroyuka Nagase (Japan), Chairman of the 2019 WEA Annual meeting. The publication can be accessed here



APAAACI Committee Initiatives: Surveys

We would like to thank you all for your valuable contribution to the APAAACI surveys that we have distributed for the past couple of months. APAAACI committees have continued to work hard towards developing specific surveys to assess the current status of allergies in our region.


We have now circulated surveys and tabulated the results from 7 committees. Surveys included:


1. Drug Allergy Diagnostic Procedures & Practices

2. Asthma / Severe Asthma

3. Food Allergy

4. Pollen Allergy

5. Use of Probiotics

6. Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis (AR) & Chronic Rhinosinusitis (CSR)

7. Urticaria & Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria



We will be sending out a new survey on COVID-19 including impact on Asthma and Allergies and will continue to circulate a series of surveys from the remainder of our committees. This includes:


1. Molecular Allergology

2. Immunotherapy

3. Biologics and Precision Medicine


WEBINARS

APAAACI webinars coming soon!


APAAACI is preparing to provide e-learning resources over the coming months to ensure continuation of our mission. We do welcome you to make suggestions on subjects.




Literature Highlights

Courtesy of Web Editors: Bernard Thong and Amir HA Latiff - Access here


APAAACI Journal. APAllergy.

We thank our web editors Prof. Bernard Thong and Prof. Amir HA Latiff for their valuable contribution of the April issue, and the WEA and our journal Editor-in-Chief Prof. Yoon-Seok Chang and his editorial team for their work in publishing the April issue.


Lastly, our empathy goes to all health personal, our colleagues and volunteers working on the frontlines to save lives and the scientists who are working hard to develop the treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.


Stay alert to our COVID-19 updates, survey and to our many new initiatives.


Stay healthy and stay safe.








Ruby Pawankar, MD, Ph.D., FRCP, FAAAI

President APAAACI

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​Copyright 2019 Asia Pacific Association of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, All Right Reserved.

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