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Letter from the Editor

Prof. Richard Dekhuijzen
ERS 2020

Dear Reader,

The COVID-19 pandemic has a major impact on global health and affects all aspects of professional and social activities. All congresses, international and national, are organised in either a hybrid format (live and via video) or completely online. Obviously, this was also the case for the 2020 ATS and ERS congresses. Nevertheless, the organisers and the speakers were able to present the most recent updates in important areas of pulmonary diseases. We decided to present the most important findings of these major events in a combined issue.

Clearly, pulmonologists are in the frontline of diagnosing and treating patients with COVID-19. Important clinical and research findings were presented. Findings from a retrospective analysis of bronchoscopy results suggest that a bronchoscopy may add diagnostic value in patients with unclear COVID-19 diagnosis. Some COVID-19 patients may develop fibrotic abnormalities. The issue of potential reinfections has been discussed. The importance of structured follow-up has been presented. Worldwide, over a hundred COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently under investigation; some of them already in phase 3 trials. Hopefully approved as of 2021, vaccines may help to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The management of mild asthma underwent some considerable changes in recent years. The GINA guidelines no longer recommend short-acting β2-agonists (SABA) as needed as sole treatment.

Research findings over the years have suggested that the presence of chronic symptoms is not directly associated with the development of airflow limitation. Their course over a patient’s life is rather unstable as they may appear, disappear, and reappear over the years.

The ever-increasing variety of nicotine-containing products that flooded the market in recent years are definitely no “harm reduction products” as propagated by the tobacco industry. On the contrary, the use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, often together with cannabis, leads to a toxic cocktail that could be responsible for permanent lung damage and premature death.

First-in-class P2X3 receptor antagonist shows promise for chronic cough treatment. In two phase 3 studies, gefapixant reduced the frequency of cough in patients with refractory or unexplained cough and increased their quality of life.

This report outlines the most significant advancements discussed at both conferences. So, we hope that you will enjoy reading this Conference Report!


Stay healthy and kind regards,

Prof. Richard Dekhuijzen



Prof. P.N. Richard Dekhuijzen is Professor of Pulmonology at the Radboud University Medical Center

in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. His specific area of clinical and research interest includes asthma, COPD, and inhalation technology. He studied medicine at VU Amsterdam and completed his training in pulmonology at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam and in the Academic Hospital Nijmegen. In 1989, he finished his PhD thesis on training of the respiratory muscles in COPD, followed by a PhD thesis on steroid induced myopathy of the diaphragm in 1994 at the Catholic University Leuven (Belgium). He is author/co-author of over 330 peer-reviewed papers and many textbook chapters on respiratory medicine. From 2008-2010, he was Head of the Cardiology Department at Radboudumc. Until 2016, he chaired the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, the Heart-Lung Centre Nijmegen, and the Medical Staff at Radboudumc. He is the scientific chair of the Aerosol Drug Management Improvement Team (ADMIT) and chair of the Dutch Inhalation Technology Working Group. Currently, he is chair of the Medical Ethical Committee of the



Conflict of Interest Statement:

In the last 3 years, Richard Dekhuijzen and/or his department received research grants, unrestricted educational grants, and/or fees for lectures and advisory board meetings from AstraZeneca, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Chiesi, GSK, Mundipharma, Novartis, Sandoz, Teva, and Zambon.

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