Chairmans report 2020/2021

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                September 3rd 2021


NSCMID chairman´s report 2020/2021


Annual meeting 2020: The 37th Annual Meeting of NSCMID which was planned for Stockholm in September 2020 had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was unanimously agreed by the board and inevitable, given the situation at the time. Preparation was well under way and the society had undergone some financial commitments and expenditures without any income, which affected the NSCMID budget (see below).

2020 NSCMID Annual General Meeting. As a result of the cancellation of the Stockholm meeting, the annual general meeting was also cancelled, but hosted virtually on Zoom on December 3rd 2020. It had previously been announced to all members on the NSCMID website and by email. Links were submitted to those who expressed interest. No board members were up for election and therefore the board composition remained unchanged. It was also decided to keep membership dues unchanged. Upcoming meetings and other activities were discussed.

SSAC Foundation meeting in Stockholm: The spring meeting of the SSAC Foundation took place virtually on March 21st, 2021. Only 10 applications were submitted this year and 6 did receive sufficiently high scores and financial support by the SSAC foundation board as a result, in the total amount of 625.500 SEK. In addition, it was decided by the board to allocate 100.000 SEK to the organizing committee for the Turku meeting, to support travel of young scientists to the 37th Annual Meeting in Turku in September. The remaining amount, 750.000 SEK was rolled over to 2022.

NSCMID board meeting. The NSCMID board met online on March 24th, 2021, as travel restrictions made an onsite meeting impossible. The agenda was mostly focused on the upcoming meeting in Turku in September 2021, and the subsequent meeting in Aalborg, September 2022. It was decided to aim for a hybrid meeting in Turku, to accommodate those who are unable or unwilling to travel and probably this will become the norm in subsequent meetings. The equity of the society has decreased as a result of the cancelled Stockholm meeting as well as deficits incurred by NordicAST, but this trend will hopefully reverse once operations restart. Given the dire situation globally, it was decided that the society should aim for a virtual mini-conference/webinar on COVID-19.

NSCMID webinar on COVID-19: A 90-minute webinar was organized and hosted by NSCMID on April 24th, entitled: Hot topics in COVID-19. Entering the final stretch? The moderators were Asko Järvinen and Magnus Gottfredsson. During this webinar four experts from the Nordic countries gave talks in important topics like thrombosis due to COVID-19 and vaccination, mass testing for SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 and the brain, and new virus variants. The webinar was free of charge to participants; it was extremely well received, attracting 255 registered participants from over 20 countries. The event was also recorded and made available on YouTube and the NSCMID website for a limited time.

NSCMID Working groups: High level isolation working group canceled their meeting in 2020 due to COVID-19. The group has however been very active by other means during the current pandemic, mainly by informal communication. The chair is Arne Broch Brantsæter. The NordicAST had one regular onsite board meeting in March, but the annual AST workshop in Gothenburg was cancelled. The group continued to work using Zoom, and the workshop was replaced by three 2 h webinars in Nov-December. The chair is Iren Høyland Löhr. Nordic paediatric infectious diseases, NORPID is a NSCMID working group established in the fall of 2018 and chaired by Terho Heikkinen. The meeting which was planned for 2020 following the Stockholm meeting was cancelled. The group will meet in Turku at the 37th NSCMID meeting.

Other working groups (parasites, ticks, shiga-toxin producing E. coli) have not provided reports to the society for 2019-20.

Annual meeting 2021: This year´s annual meeting in Turku, Finland is chaired by Professor Jaana Vuopio. It has been organized as an onsite and virtual meeting and all events will be recorded and made available for registered participants for the duration of September 2021.

As my term as chairman is expiring at this meeting, I want to thank NSMCMID members and fellow board members for an enjoyable collaboration and great company during my term over the past 3 years. Despite the intense challenges brought on by the pandemic, it has also underlined the global importance of our specialties of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases and is an important reminder of the far reaching impact of infectious diseases.  We have to be knowledgeable, adaptable and responsive as proven by the current pandemic. More than ever, I remain optimistic for the future of our society and wish you all the best.

With kind regards,


Professor Magnus Gottfredsson, MD, PhD, FACP,

NSCMID chairman