COVID-19 News: WHO And ECDC Launch ERVISS Platform to Monitor Real-Time Respiratory Virus Data in Europe
: As the colder months settle in over Europe and Central Asia, concerns about respiratory virus infections are on the rise. The convergence of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) poses a significant public health challenge. To tackle this issue head-on, the Europe WHO regional office has initiated a seasonal campaign to safeguard populations and healthcare systems against the combined impact of these circulating viruses. This COVID-19 News
report delves into the critical changes in surveillance and data reporting, culminating in the launch of the European Respiratory Virus Surveillance Summary (ERVISS) platform, a joint effort by WHO/Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The Complexity of Respiratory Viruses
SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is now just one of several respiratory viruses circulating across Europe. Others include the seasonal influenza virus and RSV. The continued presence of these viruses in the community poses a considerable public health risk. As the situation evolves, WHO/Europe is adapting its approach to surveillance and data reporting. The changes in testing, genomic characterization, and reporting in different countries necessitate a cautious interpretation of the reported COVID-19 data.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the transmission intensity, disease severity, and viral evolution, a range of surveillance systems have been employed. These systems encompass established approaches like sentinel surveillance in primary and secondary care, as well as innovative methods such as wastewater monitoring. Moreover, data on intensive care unit occupancy, hospital bed occupancy, and all-cause mortality across age groups play a crucial role in supporting national planning and estimating the disease burden.
Revamping Respiratory Virus Surveillance
In response to the evolving landscape, WHO/Europe has revamped its respiratory virus surveillance and data reporting systems. A noteworthy development in this regard is the launch of ERVISS, a weekly online platform designed to display integrated surveillance data for influenza, COVID-19, and RSV in the WHO European Region, which includes the European Union/European Economic Area.
ERVISS is not an isolated endeavor; it is integral to the broader initiative of the WHO/Europe COVID-19 Information and Data Hub. This comprehensive resource serves as a hub for the most current health information, datasets, and products related to COVID-19, offering a robust platform for both professionals and the public.
Dr Richard Pebody, WHO/Europe's Programme Area Manager for Infectious Hazard Management, emphasized the importance of these changes. "We have been working for some time with Member States as they move their respiratory surveillance systems from pandemic mode to a more routine, sustainable, integrated approach, combining COVID-19 with other respiratory viruses." The goal is to enable countries to implement public health measures more effectively, plan hospital bed capacity, and implement vaccine programs that encompass multiple respiratory viru
Dr Pebody further added, "Surveillance systems at a national level should be focused on well-designed, representative national sentinel monitoring in primary and secondary care, but should also include a mosaic of complementary data systems to ensure a full and integrated virologic and epidemiologic picture."
The ERVISS System Objectives
The ERVISS system is designed with specific objectives in mind, aiming to:
-Monitor the intensity, geographical spread, and temporal patterns of influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory virus infections to inform optimal mitigation measures.
-Keep track of the severity and risk factors for severe disease while assessing the impact of these infections on healthcare systems to guide mitigation measures.
-Observe changes and characteristics of circulating and emerging respiratory viruses, particularly virological changes in influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory viruses. This information is crucial for the development of treatments, drugs, and vaccines.
-Replace three existing regional products: Flu News Europe, the WHO/Europe Weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Bulletin, and the COVID-19 Situation in the WHO European Region dashboard.
The Information and Data Hub
In addition to ERVISS, the Information and Data Hub will house other essential resources and platforms. WHO/Europe's Public Health and Social Measures Monitoring platform will be a part of this hub. Furthermore, the WHO/Europe COVID-19 Vaccine Programme Monitor will be integrated, providing vital information on vaccine distribution and administration.
Additionally, the hub will include databases with COVID-19-related health information. These databases will remain accessible for historical reference, serving as valuable resources for researchers, policymakers, and healthcare professionals.
The Necessity of These Systems
The significance of these systems and platforms in monitoring respiratory viruses cannot be overstated. They offer an integrated approach to surveillance, ensuring that respiratory viruses are comprehensively tracked, and data are readily available to guide timely, appropriate, and holistic control and prevention measures. These tools are not only instrumental in managing the ongoing pandemic but also in detecting and monitoring future pandemics.
Dr Catherine Smallwood, WHO/Europe's COVID-19 Incident Manager, emphasized the importance of adapting to changing data needs. "The COVID-19 Situation in the WHO European Region dashboard played a pivotal role in providing essential information during the early stages of the pandemic. However, the landscape of this has now shifted, and so have data needs. This is why the creation of the new Information and Data Hub is so important. This will be developed and expanded to cover future health threats."
The launch of ERVISS and the development of the Information and Data Hub mark a crucial step in the ongoing battle against respiratory viruses in Europe. These initiatives ensure that data on COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and other respiratory viruses are effectively monitored and shared in real-time, enabling informed decision-making and comprehensive public health responses. As we navigate the complexities of these viruses in the changing seasons, these tools will continue to be indispensable in safeguarding the health of populations across Europe and beyond.
For the latest COVID-19 News
, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.