30 August, 2021
I am writing with an update on plans for the Cytokines 2021 meeting. The ever-changing uncertainties associated with the current pandemic has placed various pressures on the organisation of the forthcoming annual conference. Whilst the achievements by vaccine developers, clinical colleagues and those involved in coordinating the vaccine rollout programmes in our home countries have generated much-needed optimism in restoring normality, some challenges remain. Within the UK, we have seen changes in COVID-19 infection rates, with the emergence of the delta variant and ever-changing guidance on travel and regulations for those entering from overseas. Our universities and institutions also remain cautious, and travel approvals for some have been difficult.
During the last two weeks, we have seen increasing cases of COVID-19 in Wales. Current hospitalisations remain low, and the Welsh Government yesterday announced no changes in current restrictions. However, as COVID-19 case numbers increase, the possibility of stricter lockdowns and fire breaks remains a reality. Consequently, we are now announcing that Cytokines2021 will switch to a virtual platform. This decision will be a disappointment for those who have registered to attend in person. However, the health and wellbeing of our delegates are paramount, and the potential disruption caused by mandatory quarantining and PCR testing is likely to impact the conference experience for delegates. Those who have registered for the in-person event will receive refunds and remain registered for the virtual meeting.
Preparations of the Cytokines 2021 virtual platform are at an advanced stage, and we have developed the online experience in parallel to the in-person event. We are, therefore, well-placed to deliver our exciting programme through the LabRoots system. Further information on the accessibility of the virtual platform can be found on the conference website and will be providing additional updates in due course. We very much appreciate all your support and look forward to welcoming you to the annual meeting in October. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Joan Oefner ([email protected])
Simon A Jones, Cardiff University, Wales, UK