On 26-28 January the VERDI General Assembly Meeting took place – an exciting 3-day online event bringing together experts in infectious diseases from the EU and beyond. The aim was to share our workplan, identify research areas of interest for the Consortium and prioritize crucial scientific questions about the epidemiology, transmission, disease progression and treatment of variants of SARS-CoV-2 among children and pregnant women, which the Consortium will collaboratively seek to answer.
There are several issues concerning the evolution of the pandemic that have emerged over the last months, many of which still require a coordinated effort in order to protect the health of women and children worldwide. For instance: What is the role of children in fuelling transmission of variants and future waves of infection? What are the short- and longer-term clinical consequences of infection with variants in children and pregnant women? And to what extent do newly emerging variants overcome existing natural and vaccine induced immunity in children and pregnant women, and do they impact on pregnancy outcomes?
VERDI is bringing together a diverse range of cohort studies: together we will collect and analyze data on variants of concern (VoC) from a wide and comprehensive variety of sources, and build on multi-disciplinary expertise from different institutions. By sharing information across existing cohorts, coordinating our efforts with other research consortia, sustaining plans for operational readiness of the cohorts, and recommending effective control and preventive measures for the spread of the virus, we wish to make the most out of this collaboration, seizing an incredible opportunity to learn from each other and make progress together.