EULAR to host virtual conference

3 minute read

Here are the latest updates out of EULAR, including their plans for a virtual conference, a database of COVID-19 cases and the issue of anti-malarials

This year’s European Congress of Rheumatology will now be held online, as organisers were forced to cancel the physical event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

EULAR will instead host a “virtual congress experience”.

“This will be available online, probably starting from the regular congress date, Wednesday June 3rd, 2020, and will be accessible on demand over a timeframe of several months,” conference organisers said in a statement.

Delegates will also be able to view abstracts and posters online, and have free access to the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases for one year.

To address one gap in data in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, EULAR has now launched a rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases reporting database in collaboration with the Global Rheumatology Alliance.

Rheumatologists are being asked to monitor and report the outcomes of adult and child patients with COVID-19.

This database will allow rheumatologists around the world to see the number of reported cases by country and by treatment, as well as other regularly updated, and anonymous, information.

“There is an urgent need to understand outcomes of patients who acquire COVID-19 and are receiving steroids, synthetic or biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” Associate Professor Pedro Machado, chair of the EULAR Standing Committee of Epidemiology and Health Services Research, said in a statement.

“This will help guide rheumatologists and other clinicians such as specialist nurses in advising and caring for their patients,” he said.

Rheumatologists are being asked to submit data on their patients with COVID-19, regardless of how mild they may be. Data on mild and asymptomatic cases will help researchers build a better picture of who is most at risk of the disease.

Meanwhile, EULAR’s president raised concerns about rheumatic and musculoskeletal patients missing out on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid growing enthusiasm in the community for their use as a COVID-19 treatment.

While president Professor Iain McInnes welcomed research into the therapies, he called for respect for those using these as an essential medicine.

“EULAR is concerned however that the diversion of drug supplies away from people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases may lead to adverse outcomes for this important and sizeable community in Europe and beyond,” Professor McInnes said.

“Our patient association membership pillar, People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe, PARE, calls on manufacturers of these agents to rapidly upscale output to meet the increasing clinical need.”

To find out more about the Global Rheumatology Alliance, visit

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