M. Névant (FR), Editorial CommitteeM. Névant (FR), Editorial Committee

Don’t worry, be epi

“Today is a great day for science and humanity”. These are the very words used by the CEO of a pharmaceutical company when announcing the first set of results from Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials. These results, which since then have been followed by promising announcements from other pharmaceutical companies, give us some light of hope that we might be able to return to a “normal” life within 9 to 12 months. As we go to press, the UK has announced the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with a mid-December rollout.

In a previous Editorial (epi Information 2/20), I wondered whether The World After (the Pandemic) would be business as usual. It seems at first glance, that from the perspective of worldwide firms, little will change and that lessons have not been learnt. However, the lives of millions of people have been changed, sometimes dramatically, and our vision of society has, no doubt, been altered as a result of this pandemic ordeal.

In this context where social contacts are the exception rather than the rule, epi is preparing its Strategic Plan for the next three years. Communication will play an important role in the success of this plan, not only to gain more visibility vis-à-vis outside stakeholders, but first and foremost to reinforce the engagement with all members of the Institute. The Editorial Committee is committed to supporting the Presidium and the Board in order to achieve this goal.

The present issue of epi Information is a special one: a print version is being dispatched to all our members! I thank the Presidium and in particular the Treasurer for making this possible.

This issue features a report of the last Council meeting during which the question of oral proceedings by videoconference (ViCo) was extensively discussed. It is understandable that representatives wish to benefit from advances in technology enabling remote attendance at oral proceedings. However, when the pandemic is over, we should be careful to not completely de-humanise oral proceedings by extensively resorting to ViCo.

This issue also features reports from various Committees the members of which have been elected or re-elected during the last Council meeting. The importance of the Committees, and their contribution to the image and reputation of the Institute, cannot be emphasized enough. We can be proud of the work they do, and especially of the time and effort spent by Committee members during this very particular year. I also extend our thanks to all the staff of the Secretariat for the outstanding support they have provided to the various epi bodies during the pandemic.

On behalf of the Editorial Committee, I sincerely wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021.