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DURABLE 2nd annual meeting

On February 7-9, the second DURABLE annual meeting took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We welcomed over 80 participants in person, with an additional 25 participants that joined online. This was a great opportunity to meet face-to-face again, share our progress and research, exchange ideas and plan the next steps in the project.

The first day kicked off with an opening from Marion Koopmans (Erasmus MC), followed by a keynote lecture from Ali Mizarimi (Karolinska Institutet) where it was valuable to have the in-person presence of an SEAB member. This was followed by updates from the Work Packages (WPs) in Cluster 1: Key parameters for risk assessment and modelling in 30 days. These presentations focused on the proactive identification of pathogens and variants and the proactive characterisation of emerging pathogens, including phenotyping HPAI H5 influenza virus and phenotyping of emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2. The day ended with a poster session with 20 different posters from several institutions representing their work. The best poster award went to Willemijn Rijnink from EMC who presented her work on “Risk assessment of highly pathogenic avian influenza clade 2.3.4. B A/H5N1 and A/H5N6 viruses using the ferret model”. Congratulations!

The second day was filled with updates from Cluster 2: Intelligence and rapid assessment of alerts and Cluster 3: Disease preparedness and response. There were presentations on the improvement of countermeasures, pathogen outbreak and tracking, forecasting scenarios, novel diagnostics, training and capacity building, and European cooperation on pandemic preparedness and synergetic projects. After a long day of presentations, all attendees enjoyed a dinner together on a nostalgic boat while cruising along the river and watching Rotterdam skyline.

On the final day, EMBL-EBI provided insights on data sharing and shared their experience on the Covid-19 data platform and its use. Following this, the project management and communication aspects of the project were presented. The meeting ended with two parallel sessions. During the Scientific and Ethical Advisory Board (SEAB) meeting we welcomed the board online and summarised DURABLE’s extensive progress in year 1. The DURABLE young researchers got together to form “DURABLE Young” and brainstormed about their plans and needs for the future. “DURABLE Young” is a cross-work package network of younger researchers within the consortium.

Thanks to everyone who attended the DURABLE meeting and made it a success! We look forward to the next annual meeting in Paris, France in 2025!