Another year of EAVI2020, a virtual year.
The EAVI2020 consortium smiled for a group shot. They met over two full mornings in November. Members presented work-package updates and future work.
After four years of 80+ consortium members meeting together every year, this year was the first time the consortium undertook their entire annual meeting online. Organised by coordinating partner’s, Imperial College London Research Project Management team (RPM), it was a huge success.
The usual organisation of travel and accommodation bookings, and catering orders transformed into technical rehearsals of systems and checking internet connections, which was unusual but the consortium took it in their stride.
Of course, no one needs reminding of why the annual meeting had to take place virtually rather than in person, and it is another example of the impact the force majeure has had on EAVI2020 in the year, 2020. The setbacks on EAVI2020’s clinical studies have been immense and it is still unclear when those that have commenced will resume, and those that were scheduled to begin will indeed, begin.
However, this has not dashed the dedication and hard work all the researchers and students continue to put into EAVI2020. And their committed participation in the annual meeting made this clear. They continue to push forward with the work they can do on novel HIV vaccine candidates and steadfast the mitigation strategies for when clinical trials can resume. Prof Robin Shattock, EAVI2020 coordinator commended the consortium continually through the two-day virtual meeting. His admiration and pride in being part of EAVI2020 was evidently felt and shared by all.
The European Commission, the body in which funds EAVI2020(under the Horizon2020 programme) has understood the predicament of many Horizon2020 projects and the 6-month extension that was granted in July, has allowed the consortium breathing room to ensure the vaccine pipeline is delivered on time. However, with the UK now in a second national lockdown, and many other European countries in similar second-wave restrictions, the future is uncertain.
The EAVI2020 consortium ended the annual meeting with well-wishes for all and their families, and the steering committee will meet again before Christmas.