Advancing challenges in Paediatric Virology: An interview with Professor Barbara A. Rath, Co‑founder and Chair of the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative
- Ioannis N. Mammas
- Demetrios A. Spandidos
Published online on: August 28, 2019
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The Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative (ViVI) is an international, scientific, non‑profit, research organization, which aims to promote research, clinical practice and communication on Paediatric Infectious Diseases (PID) in a globalized healthcare setting, to facilitate the implementation of high standards in vaccine safety and efficacy and to support international and interdisciplinary scientific collaboration. Professor Barbara A. Rath, Chair and Co‑founder of the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative, advocates for the establishment of global research networks in the field of neonatal and paediatric viral infections. Viruses do not respect borders, and large datasets are required and joint action is necessary to further strengthen efforts towards viral diseases eradication and prevention. She encourages the paediatric community to embrace the new opportunities technology offers for healthcare and medical education. To date, the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative has developed a number of innovative mobile applications and diagnostic tools, such as the ‘VAccApp’, which helps parents understand which vaccines were administered to their children, the ‘ViVI Disease Severity Score’, which measures clinical severity in patients with acute respiratory infections and flu‑like illnesses, the ‘VACC Tool’, which assesses patient's clinical presentation to a set of diagnostic algorithms for adverse events following immunization and the ‘ViVI Health Survey’, which enables children and young adults on the move to report health needs securely and confidentially. Professor Rath agrees that during this decade there is momentum in the field of Paediatric Virology, as new antivirals and vaccines emerge and are finally becoming available to children. In the future, ‘in‑house’ specialists for Paediatric Virology could be helpful to provide quality of care and reduce antimicrobial resistance by providing individual as well as hospital‑wide consultations and advice. She estimates that Paediatric Virology will eventually find its place in the context of PID and Vaccinology.