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Informing; Researching; Connecting – ISN on COVID-19

In March, as the world began to feel the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, the ISN launched its COVID-19 resource page with the support of a team of ISN COVID-19 Collaborators. This dedicated area of the ISN website hosts information on the impact of COVID-19 on the kidneys. It provides recommendations for preventing and treating the virus, as well as all the latest articles on this issue from Kidney International and Kidney International Reports, webinars, global reports, official statements, and useful knowledge-sharing tools such as infographics.

ISN President Vivek Jha, with Saraladevi Naicker, Executive Committee member, took the lead on investigating the impact of COVID-19 on kidney health with the paper, “Novel Coronavirus 2019 Epidemic and Kidneys,” published in Kidney International on March 7, 2020.

The initial focus of the ISN Global Kidney Care Podcast (GKCP), launched in May, was on the impact of the novel coronavirus. The series presents several interviews with nephrologists working in epicenters of the virus outbreak in the UK and the US.

In the same month, the ISN made an official joint statement alongside other nephrology societies calling for optimal care for patients with kidney diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISN remains committed to advancing kidney care worldwide through education, training, and advocacy. With this in mind, the ISN announced the online adaptation of its Continuing Medical Education (CME) and ISN Educational Ambassadors Programs in October.

Sister Renal Centers (SRC) and Sister Transplant Centers (ISN-TTS STC) partnerships continued to collaborate within the programs in 2020 through interactive webinars. Recordings of these sessions are available for ISN members on the ISN Academy.

The ISN received an encouraging report in September from ISN Fellow Dr. Amar Swali, from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, who received training at the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital in Nadiad, Gujarat, India, from mid-October 2019. Dr. Swali’s account demonstrated the granting program’s success despite restrictions in place due to the novel coronavirus.

The ISN has collaborated on several data collection projects throughout 2020 to track the impact of COVID-19 on patients with kidney diseases.

Both to inform the nephrology community and provide needed connection in a socially distanced environment, ISN asked its members how they were coping with COVID-19 and presented first-hand accounts from the COVID-19 frontlines through interviews and written reports, including dispatches from Young Nephrologists Committee members. In May, young ISN members Marina Wainstein (Australia), Rolando Claure-Del Granado (Bolivia), and Chimota Phiri (Malawi) shared the challenges of managing the COVID-19 crisis. In July, we received further reports from Bangladesh, Ghana, and Brazil describing their experience of working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October, the ISN-covid team presented an infographic and visual abstract for the Cloth Masks Project. This initiative, set up by Dr. Catherine Clase and Dr. Roberto Pecoits-Filho, reviews published, peer-reviewed literature to help inform the choice of materials and designs for cloth masks and mask use. Rolando Claure-Del Granado talked to Catherine Clase about the project in an ISNeducatioRenal Research Rounds interview.

In December, the ISN released a companion ISN Journals eDigest packed with complementary material, including visual abstracts, video abstract, and podcast, to coincide with the December issue of Kidney International dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ISN is proud of all its members for contending with and adapting to extraordinary circumstances in 2020.

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