Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The forthcoming WAA meeting will be hold in the magnificent city of Paris in April 27-29, 2016. The Meeting will be organized jointly by SFH and WAA and the scientific committee includes representatives from SFH, WAA, and ESFH. The latter is more particularly partly in charge of the educational program for international guests. A provisional program will be released shortly, attention to the scientific committee’s members. Complementary suggestions and proposals are welcome!
In the field of apheresis, both from a technical and a clinical point of view, there are so many exiting topics to be discussed or revised due to emerging scientific evidence.
In 2014, for instance, the Ebolavirus outbreak in some central Africa countries resulted in many thousands of infected people with a roughly 50 % mortality rate and, to date, more than 7.000 deaths. In many instances, local health systems proved to be inadequate to face the challenge, and only the support given locally by international non for-profit organizations such as Médecins sans Frontières, Emergency and others, proved effective in reducing the death toll rate. Furthermore, in many instances, several infected individuals survived Ebola thanks to appropriate, despite possibly empiric, supportive treatment. This latter included antibiotics, hydration and hemocomponent support, especially plasma collected from convalescent patients either from whole blood or from apheresis (http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/268787/Use-of-Convalescent-Whole-Blood-or-Plasma-Collected-from-Patients-Recovered-from-Ebola-Virus-Disease-for-Transfusion,-as-an-Empirical-Treatment-during-Outbreaks-Eng.pdf).
Thus, which role could be played in this field by an international scientific society? As reported by Olivier Garraud, current WAA secretary, on behalf of the whole WAA board (World Apheresis Association letter to the WHO: the World Apheresis Association urges the development of preparedness plans to make specific plasma available when urgently needed, Transfus Apher Sci. 2014 Dec;51(3):2-3. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2014.11.007) our intervention should be aimed to increase local professionals skills and preparedness to fight epidemic outbreaks, at least by ensuring adequate and effective medical treatment, including transfusion support. Needless to say, all the above is costly, and will require both financial support by national and international authorities and local health personnel training. The latter should be one of our main tasks, and I consider worthwhile fostering this aim possibly with the support of companies operating in the field. It seems ambitious but I think that it should be considered of general interest both from a scientific point of view and even from an economical point of view. In fact, we should try to estimate the Ebola epidemic-related costs (medical interventions from abroad, sanitary controls performed all over the world at customs, etc), and report these costs to locally derived resources when education allows them.
Moreover, more and more clinical data are being collected on therapeutic apheresis procedures safety and on patients’ clinical outcome through the efforts made by different national registries. Thus, we should put our data together within the WAA registry to get rapidly a more scientifically sound evidence, mostly for emerging indications for apheresis, such as for patients with anti-neuron antibodies or for those who undergo immune-adsorption or immunomodulatory procedures.
Finally, I would like to thank in advance Dr Farhad Heshmati, President of the SFH, and Prof. Loïc Guillevin, past-President and founder of the WAA, for their commitment and advice in organizing the 2016 SFH and WAA meeting.
On behalf of the WAA board, I wish you all the best for 2016 and I look forward to meeting you in Paris!
MD President WAA