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Is It Time for the Virtual Scientific Conference?: Coronavirus, Travel Restrictions, Conferences Cancelled

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.

UPDATED 3/12/2020

To many of us scientists, presenting and attending scientific meetings, especially international scientific conferences, are a crucial tool for disseminating and learning new trends and cutting edge findings occurring in our respective fields.  Large international meetings, like cancer focused meetings like AACR (held in the spring time), AAAS and ASCO not only highlight the past years great discoveries but are usually the first place where breakthroughs are made known to the scientific/medical community as well as the public.  In addition these conferences allow for scientists to learn some of the newest technologies crucial for their work in vendor exhibitions.

During the coronavirus pandemic, multiple cancellations of business travel, conferences, and even university based study abroad programs are being cancelled and these cancellations are now hitting the 2020 Spring and potentially summer scientific/medical conferences.  Indeed one such conference hosted by Amgen in Massachusetts was determined as an event where some attendees tested positive for the virus, and as such, now other attendees are being asked to self quarantine.

Today I received two emails on conference cancellations, one from Experimental Biology in California and another from The Cancer Letter, highlighting other conferences, including National Cancer Coalition Network (NCCN) meetings which had been canceled.

 

Experimental Biology - San Diego 2020 - April 4-7

Dear Stephen,

After thoughtful deliberations, the leaders of the Experimental Biology host societies have made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel Experimental Biology (EB) 2020 set to take place April 4–7 in San Diego, California. We know how much EB means to everyone, and we did not make this decision in haste. The health and safety of our members, attendees, their students, our staff, partners and our communities are our top priority.

As we have previously communicated via email, on experimentalbiology.org and elsewhere, EB leadership has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease). Based on the latest guidance from public health officials, the travel bans implemented by different institutions and the state of emergency declared in California less than 48 hours ago, it became clear to us that canceling was the right course of action.

We thank you and the entire EB community for understanding the extreme difficulty of this decision and for your commitment to the success of this conference – from the thousands of attendees to the presenters, exhibitors and sponsors who shared their time, expertise, collaboration and leadership. We deeply appreciate your contributions to this community.

What Happens Next?

Everyone who has registered to attend the meeting will receive a full registration refund within the next 45 days. Once your registration cancellation is processed, you will receive confirmation in a separate email. You do not need to contact anyone at EB or your host society to initiate the process. Despite the cancellation of the meeting, we are pleased to tell you that we will publish abstracts in the April 2020 issue of The FASEB Journal as originally planned. Please remember to cancel any personal arrangements you’ve made, such as travel and housing reservations. 

We ask for patience as we evaluate our next steps, and we will alert you as additional information becomes available please see our FAQs for details.

And in The Cancer Letter

Coronavirus vs. oncology: Meeting cancellations, travel restrictions, fears about drug supply chain

By Alexandria Carolan

NOTE: An earlier version of this story was published March 4 on the web and was updated March 6 to include information about restricted travel for employees of cancer centers, meeting cancellations, potential disruptions to the drug supply chain, and funds allocated by U.S. Congress for combating the coronavirus.

Further updates will be posted as the story develops.

Forecasts of the inevitable spread of coronavirus can be difficult to ignore, especially at a time when many of us are making travel plans for this spring’s big cancer meetings.

The decision was made all the more difficult earlier this week, as cancer centers and at least one biotechnology company—Amgen—implemented travel bans that are expected to last through the end of March and beyond. The Cancer Letter was able to confirm such travel bans at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Meetings are getting cancelled in all fields, including oncology:

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network March 5 postponed its 2020 annual conference of about 1,500 attendees March 19-22 in Orlando, citing precautions against coronavirus.

“The health and safety of our attendees and the patients they take care of is our number one concern,” said Robert W. Carlson, chief executive officer of NCCN. “This was an incredibly difficult and disappointing decision to have to make. However, our conference attendees work to save the lives of immunocompromised people every day. Some of them are cancer survivors themselves, particularly at our patient advocacy pavilion. It’s our responsibility, in an abundance of caution, to safeguard them from any potential exposure to COVID-19.”

UPDATED 3/12/2020

And today the AACR canceled its yearly 2020 Meeting (https://www.aacr.org/meeting/aacr-annual-meeting-2020/coronavirus-information/)

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Board of Directors has made the difficult decision, after careful consideration and comprehensive evaluation of currently available information related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, to terminate the AACR Annual Meeting 2020, originally scheduled for April 24-29 in San Diego, California. A rescheduled meeting is being planned for later this year.

The AACR has been closely monitoring the rapidly increasing domestic and worldwide developments during the last several weeks related to COVID-19. This evidence-based decision was made after a thorough review and discussion of all factors impacting the Annual Meeting, including the U.S. government’s enforcement of restrictions on international travelers to enter the U.S.; the imposition of travel restrictions issued by U.S. government agencies, cancer centers, academic institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies; and the counsel of infectious disease experts. It is clear that all of these elements significantly affect the ability of delegates, speakers, presenters of proffered papers, and exhibitors to participate fully in the Annual Meeting.

The health, safety, and security of all Annual Meeting attendees and the patients and communities they serve are the AACR’s highest priorities. While we believe that the decision to postpone the meeting is absolutely the correct one to safeguard our meeting participants from further potential exposure to the coronavirus, we also understand that this is a disappointing one for our stakeholders. There had been a great deal of excitement about the meeting, which was expected to be the largest ever AACR Annual Meeting, with more than 7,400 proffered papers, a projected total of 24,000 delegates from 80 countries and more than 500 exhibitors. We recognize that the presentation of new data, exchange of information, and opportunities for collaboration offered by the AACR Annual Meeting are highly valued by the entire cancer research community, and we are investigating options for rescheduling the Annual Meeting in the near future.

We thank all of our stakeholders for their patience and support at this time. Additional information regarding hotel reservation cancellations, registration refunds, and meeting logistics is available on the FAQ page on the AACR website. We will announce the dates and location of the rescheduled AACR Annual Meeting 2020 as soon as they are confirmed. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone impacted by this global health crisis.

However,  according to both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Scott Gottlieb (former FDA director)  the outbreak may revisit the US and the world in the fall (see https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/04/were-losing-valuable-time-ex-fda-chief-says-of-coronavirus-spread.html)  therefore these meetings may be cancelled for the whole year.

Is It Time For the Virtual (Real-Time) Conference?

Readers of this Online Access Journal are familiar with our ongoing commitment to open science and believe that forming networks of scientific experts in various fields using a social strategy is pertinent to enhancing the speed, reproducibility and novelty of important future scientific/medical discoveries.  Some of these ideas are highlighted in the following articles found on this site:

Scientific Curation Fostering Expert Networks and Open Innovation: Lessons from Clive Thompson and others

Old Industrial Revolution Paradigm of Education Needs to End: How Scientific Curation Can Transform Education

Twitter is Becoming a Powerful Tool in Science and Medicine

e-Scientific Publishing: The Competitive Advantage of a Powerhouse for Curation of Scientific Findings and Methodology Development for e-Scientific Publishing – LPBI Group, A Case in Point

Reconstructed Science Communication for Open Access Online Scientific Curation

In addition, we understand the importance of communicating the latest scientific/medical discoveries in an open and rapid format, accessible over the social media platforms.  To this effect we have developed a methodology for real time conference coverage

see  Press and Conference Coverage

at  https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/press-coverage/

AND

The Process of Real Time Coverage using Social Media

at https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/press-coverage/part-one-the-process-of-real-time-coverage-using-social-media/

Using these strategies we are able to communicate, in real time, analysis of conference coverage for a multitude of conferences.

Has technology and social media platforms now have enabled our ability to rapidly communicate, in a more open access platform, seminal discoveries and are scientists today amenable to virtual type of meetings including displaying abstracts using a real-time online platform?

Some of the Twitter analytics we have curated from such meetings show that conference attendees are rapidly adopting such social platforms to communicate with their peers and colleagues meeting notes.

Statistical Analysis of Tweet Feeds from the 14th ANNUAL BIOTECH IN EUROPE FORUM For Global Partnering & Investment 9/30 – 10/1/2014 • Congress Center Basel – SACHS Associates, London

Word Associations of Twitter Discussions for 10th Annual Personalized Medicine Conference at the Harvard Medical School, November 12-13, 2014

Comparative Analysis of the Level of Engagement for Four Twitter Accounts: @KDNuggets (Big Data) @GilPress @Forbes @pharma_BI @AVIVA1950

Twitter Analytics on the Inside 3DPrinting Conference #I3DPConf

 

Other Twitter analyses of Conferences Covered by LPBI in Real Time have produced a similar conclusion: That conference attendees are very engaged over social media networks to discuss, share, and gain new insights into material presented at these conferences, especially international conferences.

And although attracting international conferences is lucrative to many cities, the loss in revenue to organizations, as well as the loss of intellectual capital is indeed equally as great.  

Maybe there is room for such type of conferences in the future, and attending by a vast more audience than currently capable. And perhaps the #openscience movement like @MozillaScience can collaborate with hackathons to produce the platforms for such an online movement of scientific conferences as a Plan B.

Other articles on Real Time Conference Coverage in the Online Open Access Journal Include:

Innovations in electronic Scientific Publishing (eSP): Case Studies in Marketing eContent, Curation Methodology, Categories of Research Functions, Interdisciplinary conceptual innovations by Cross Section of Categories, Exposure to Frontiers of Science by Real Time Press coverage of Scientific Conferences

Real Time Coverage and eProceedings of Presentations on 11/16 – 11/17, 2016, The 12th Annual Personalized Medicine Conference, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston

Tweets by @pharma_BI and by @AVIVA1950: Real Time Coverage and eProceedings of The 11th Annual Personalized Medicine Conference, November 18-19, 2015, Harvard Medical School

REAL TIME Cancer Conference Coverage: A Novel Methodology for Authentic Reporting on Presentations and Discussions launched via Twitter.com @ The 2nd ANNUAL Sachs Cancer Bio Partnering & Investment Forum in Drug Development, 19th March 2014 • New York Academy of Sciences • USA

Search Results for ‘Real Time Conference’

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2017 MassBio Annual Meeting  March 30, 2017 8:00 AM – March 31, 2017 4:00 PM, Royal Sonesta Boston, Cambridge MA

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence will cover the event

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

will be streaming content using Social Media from the Royal Sonesta Boston on 3/30 and 3/31 in

REAL TIME

massbio-am17-banner

2017 MassBio Annual Meeting

March 30, 2017 8:00 AM March 31, 2017 4:00 PM
Royal Sonesta Boston40 Edwin Land BoulevardCambridge MA US 02142

 

UPDATED on 3/2/2017

Governor Charlie Baker to Address MassBio’s Annual Meeting

MassBio is thrilled to announce that Governor Charlie Baker will address attendees of MassBio’s 2017 Annual Meeting, which focuses on the most critical challenges facing the Massachusetts life sciences industry. 

Check out some recent news stories on Governor Baker:  

We’re #1: US News & World Report Ranks Massachusetts Best State

CBS Boston, 2/28/2017

Massachusetts Puts $39 Million Behind STEM Education

CivSource, 2/22/2017

Baker backs immigrant visas for Mass. firms

The Boston Globe, 2/4/2017

Plenary Sessions

Value: Biotech in the Era of Real-World Evidence
It is a time of great change in healthcare, as patients seek insight and engagement in the development of treatments, policymakers disagree on whether to regulate the industry more or less, and the market shifts from volume-based to value-based payment models. With scientific discovery advancing faster than innovations to our insurance and payment models, how do biopharma companies plan for bringing new treatments to market?

Convergence
We will discuss the trends toward convergence in drugs, diagnostics, devices and digital health

Cancer Moonshot: Where Des it Go From Here?

Better Business Track

The Next Generation
What are the challenges facing young researchers and new entrepreneurs today? We’ will discuss workforce development, diversity, the funding environment and more.

Changes in the Valley of Death
There is much hand-wringing over the challenges of getting early-stage funding today. But there has always been a “valley of death” in biotech. How is today’s valley different than in years past? Is it really harder to raise money today? How is the diverse and fragmented funding environment making the process harder or easier?

Emerging Markets in the Global Landscape
How are emerging markets and today’s global landscape impacting biopharma strategy?

Trends in Science Track

CNS
We will discuss current research and trends in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other CNS diseases

CRISPR and What’s Next
A look at where CRISPR technology is heading and the next generation of gene editing tools (CAS9, Cpf1, etc.)

Pain & Addiction
We all understand the devastation that prescription drug addiction is causing in our society. But we can’t eliminate addiction until we discover a non-addictive method for treating pain. What’s next for pain?

Aging
As the population ages and lives longer, there is significant opportunity in research and treating diseases of aging. We will discuss osteoarthritis, hearing loss, Alzheimer’s, dementia and other health conditions related to aging.

Convergence Track (New for 2017!)

Funding Issues at the Intersections
Despite the hype about cross-industry collaboration and convergence, it is hard to raise money for technologies at the intersections of these industries. Who is funding convergent ideas and how do you sell them?

Big Data Analytics Possibilities

Next Generation Diagnostics

FDA Policy

 

SOURCE

https://www.massbio.org/events/2017-massbio-annual-meeting-1473?utm_campaign=2017-annual-meeting&utm_medium=display&utm_source=endpoints-banner&utm_content=&utm_term=

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