Covid-19 Role of Precautions Study during Mangaluru Dermatology Conference held in October 2021 now Published as Scientific Paper in European Journal. A total of 1744 participants were there at the conference venue, of which 576 took part in the study. Dr M. Ramesh Bhat, Organising Secretary of the conference, a professor of dermatology and also Vice-Dean at the Father Muller Medical College, Mangaluru and Ganesh S Pai, chairman of the conference and a senior dermatologist at KMC, Mangaluru briefed the media during a press meet
Mangaluru: The objective of the study was that offline medical conferences during the pandemic can be held with vaccinated delegates using standard precautionary measures. A study was conducted at a dermatology conference held in Mangaluru in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic by a group of doctors associated with the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) said that offline medical conferences during the pandemic can be held with vaccinated delegates.
The study report titled ‘The role of precautions: Organising a medical conference during COVID-19 pandemic – Lessons from IADVL MIDDERMACON 2021’ has now been published as a scientific paper in the Journal of European Academy of Dermatology Venereology — Clinical Practice on June 14, 2022. The conference, IADVL MIDDERMACON 2021, was held for three days from October 28, 2021, when the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 was showing a decreasing trend and the Omicron variant was not yet present.
Dr M. Ramesh Bhat, Organising Secretary of the conference, a professor of dermatology and also Vice-Dean at the Father Muller Medical College, Mangaluru and Ganesh S Pai, chairman of the conference and a senior dermatologist, during a press meet held at Mangaluru Press Club briefing the media said that it was the ninth midannual national conference of IADVLA and also the first physical national conference of any medical speciality held during the pandemic in India.
“We took this opportunity to conduct a study about the role of precautions to be taken during a conference in COVID times,” they said. The study published in the journal concluded: “Holding large gatherings like medical conferences pose a challenge during a pandemic. However, to increase the benefits of the conference, it is advisable to hold them offline with vaccinated delegates, follow the advice of the conference organising committee, and practise safe precautionary measures.”
It’s safe to conduct and participate in medical conferences in view of the predominant vaccinated delegates under the safe management, the study by Dr. Bhat, Dr. Pai and others which included Suvidha D Kamath, Nicole Sequeira, Sunil Raina, Dandakeri Sukumar, Jacintha Martis said.
It said that a total of 1,744 persons – ranging from delegates to catering and logistics staff — were physically present at the venue. A total of 576 people responded to our Google Forms survey (response rate of 33.03%). 88.88% (512) of respondents were fully vaccinated, 9.37% (54) were partially vaccinated, and only 1.73% (10) were not vaccinated. The majority of the participants took their first vaccine dose between January and June 2021, and the majority of the second doses were between February and October 2021. Eight (1.38%) respondents received booster shots, the report said.
Seventy participants reported undergoing a COVID-19 test 48 hours before the conference, and all were negative. During the three days of the conference, 120 participants in the group of the 576 respondents accepted to undergo nasopharyngeal and oral swabs for COVID-19 testing, and none were positive, it said.
“…Following the conference, 120 local participants accepted to undergo COVID-19 RT-PCR sampling, all of which were negative. All 576 conference attendees who had responded earlier filled out new questionnaires 2 weeks after the conference; of these, 5 respondents developed upper respiratory tract infections, of which 1 (0.173%) tested positive for COVID-19. This person had travelled to the conference by aeroplane and reported only mild symptoms. Hence, the percentage of breakthrough infection after the conference was 0.173% (1/576) …” the report said.
IADVL is the member organisation of the International League of Dermatologist Societies (ILDS). As ILDS will organise WCD 2023 in Singapore, MIDDERMACON 2021 can be considered as a curtain-raiser event for future physical medical conferences. We obtained permission from Father Muller Medical College Institutional Ethics committee and registered under the Clinical Trial Registry of India ( CTRI). The protocol was reviewed by the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR). RTPCR tests were conducted by the District Health Department” Dr Bhat said.
Dr Bhat concluded by saying, “We sincerely thank all the organising committee members, IADVL National and State Executive committee, Organised Medicine (OMAG) Executives, all the faculty, delegates, and support staff who made this event possible. Our sincere thanks to District Commissioner Dr Rajendra and District Health officer Dr Kishore Kumar for their constant support”.
“This is an open access article and a PDF can be downloaded from the link. You can also share this article with your esteemed colleagues. This can be considered as Scientific evidence to conduct any events during pandemics and the importance of precautions to be executed”, said Dr Bhat.
The members present during the press meet were: Prof Ganesh S Pai – Chairman of the conference; Prof Dr Ramesh Bhat M- Secretary-General of the Conference; Prof Sukumar D- Treasurer of the conference; Dr Vinma Shetty- President Karavali Dermatology Society and Dr Suvidha Kamath Resident Doctor Fr Muller Medical College, Kankanady,mangaluru