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Airway diseases comprise a broad range of chronic lung diseases which are of interest to a wide variety of respiratory specialists, from clinicians and allied health professionals, to scientists and researchers.
The virtual ERS International Congress programme includes a dedicated airway diseases track that has been developed by experts in the field. The track includes a variety of activities for health professionals who are involved in the management of patients with airway diseases and for researchers with an interest in this disease area.
Q: The congress theme is digital health. Why is this area important for airway disease specialists?
A: Digital health has come to the fore much more rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smartwatches, thermal cameras and smartphone apps — all are being used throughout the world to help track and manage the spread of COVID-19. Respiratory physicians have embraced digital health during the crisis like never before; video consultations, telemonitoring, and artificial intelligence have all been relied on out of necessity rather than choice in hospitals and clinics across the world. These technologies have been very helpful to provide essential health services to our patients with airway disease. Yet there are many issues, for example, virtual health can amplify health inequalities and not everyone in the world has a smartphone.
Q: Is there a specific session in this track that should not be missed?
A: Assembly 5 have worked hard to develop this year’s sessions with topical clinical updates and cutting-edge scientific advances in airway diseases, that have engaging speakers and authoritative chairs from around the globe. I couldn’t choose one – so here are my top three.
A firm favourite every year is the State-of-the-art session and this year’s session will not disappoint: ‘Are recent clinical advances leading to controversies in airway diseases?’ will cover the spectrum of asthma, COPD, chronic cough and digital innovation, so hopefully something to suit all ERS attendees.
Every year, we also have great Hot topics sessions on airway diseases, so be sure to connect into ‘Linking scientific mechanisms to recent clinical therapeutic advances in airway disease: why, who, when and what?’, which focuses on the clinical science underpinning current and transforming future respiratory patient care.
Q: What do you think will be the popular topics in the airways disease field at this year’s Congress, and what will be a particular highlight for you?
A: There is a lot going on within airway diseases this year, which makes it difficult to choose only some topics! However, the establishment of our new guidelines for asthma are definitely of great interest. This year, the new guidelines for the diagnosis of asthma in children, in collaboration with paediatrics assembly, are among the highlights. We will also present the practical guidelines for managing children and adolescents with bronchiectasis.
Continuing the clinical focus, participants should not miss our Grand round session, discussing the clinical challenges beyond the guidelines. Moving from the clinic to the science, our Hot topic sessions are also of particular interest; critical issues such as the role of the environment, climate change and viral infections in airway diseases will be addressed.
Finally, I am looking forward to our hot topic session linking the recent scientific mechanisms and the late clinical therapeutic advances in airway diseases. Overall, this year’s highlights for Assembly 5 members are of particular interest to fellow clinicians and fellow basic and translational scientists.
Q: What does congress offer to early career professionals who specialise in airway diseases?
A: The views of early career professionals are fundamental to the success of the congress. Our congress offers an excellent opportunity for early career professionals to be updated by experts on the most relevant aspects of COPD, asthma and chronic cough.
Congress activities also allow us to meet other colleagues providing academic and career opportunities, as well as gain valuable insight into emerging and future areas affecting clinical practice.