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Innovations in Infectious Diseases & Vaccines Clinical Development – Highlights from ESCMID Global 2024 

  • May 29, 2024

Medpace Medical and Clinical Operations Experts Share Highlights from ESCMID Global 2024 

In April 2024, Medpace infectious diseases and vaccines experts attended ESCMID Global (formerly known as ECCMID) in Barcelona, Spain. Learn more from Dr. Slobodan Ilic, Senior Medical Director, and Dr. Christiane Bonde, Director, Clinical Trial Management, as they recap highlights from ESCMID Global 2024.   

ESCMID Global 2024 Overview

As one of the largest congresses in the field of infectious diseases, ESCMID Global spans topics relating to clinical microbiology, infectious diseases, infection prevention and control, and public health. It is a great opportunity for people with various backgrounds and interests to learn about current industry topics while experiencing endless networking opportunities and fun activities.  

The congress spanned over 4 days in Barcelona with more than eighteen thousand in person and virtual attendees. Starting on the first day, there were a large variety of scientific and industry sessions, along with an informative keynote lecture on redefining sepsis and a well-organized opening ceremony. The Medpace team met many people and had engaging discussions with past, current, and future clients, collaborators, and friends. 

Key Conference Takeaways  

This year’s congress hosted many current industry topics including antimicrobial resistance, sepsis, the human microbiome, and viral infections.  

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccines 

In the field of vaccines there has been great progress made in the last few years in the development of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccines leading to two new approved vaccines last year after a long time with very little progress in RSV prevention. RSV affects all ages from birth to elderly adulthood. Clinical features span from RSV bronchiolitis in infancy, post-bronchiolitic wheeze in young children, to insidious respiratory illness in the elderly. Long term effects of early life infections are asthma and recurrent wheeze. (Openshaw Ann Rev Immunology (2017) 35:501-532).  

The journey of the vaccine development started as early as the 1960s when 4 vaccine candidates were investigated and failed with one of the studies even enhancing RSV infection rate and increased hospitalization rates to almost 80% instead of the typical 5% hospitalization rate. The devastating results of the early studies was holding the vaccine development for a long time, until the discovery that the wrong antigen was used. It was found that the pre-fusion F protein generates a much better immune response than the post-fusion protein which was studied in the past. Recent studies with the pre-fusion F protein showed that the weekly RSV hospitalization rate was significantly reduced and vaccine efficacy of above 80% is reached – leading to the approval of two new RSV vaccines in the last year. Moreover, one of the vaccines (RSVpreF) is approved for use during pregnancy to protect infants from RSV disease. It is given to pregnant women during the RSV season and protects their born babies against RSV and reduces the risk of hospitalization by 57% in the first six months after birth. The novel extended half-life monoclonal antibody used in infants (Nirsevimab) is given during the RSV season and shows promising results and slowly enters clinical practice. 

Great progress has been made in the last few years which is impacting the landscape of vaccines and RSV in the upcoming years. It will be interesting to see what effect these new vaccines will have in the prevention of RSV disease in infants and adults.  


Sepsis continues to be a big challenge from the perspective of definition and all the way to the understanding of complex mechanisms of host response to the infection. The keynote lecture was a great overview of the long and exhausting road multiple medical specialties have undergone in the last decades to understand, define, and create strategies to fight this potentially deadly condition. A year in sepsis provided an overview of the ten most interesting and influential papers published in the last year and some fresh insights into antibacterial management, fluid resuscitation dynamics, novel immunomodulatory molecules, biomarker guided treatments, and updates in the field of pediatric sepsis. 

Antimicrobial Resistance 

Antimicrobial resistance is still one of the conference’s most important topics. The conference provides sessions/symposia with detailed evaluations of the epidemiology, complex mechanisms of resistance, as well as the insights into the novel antibacterials, combinations of beta lactam inhibitors, and antibiotics with special attention to emerging Enterobacterales, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumanii carbapenem resistance. The pipeline corner provided short but exciting presentations of the novel approaches and ideas to treat bacterial infections, most of which were close to initiating clinical trials on humans.  

Many more exciting topics were discussed at ESCMID Global this year. Medpace is looking forward to ESCMID Global 2025, as well as additional upcoming conferences in infectious diseases and vaccines.

Interested in learning more? We welcome the opportunity to discuss your upcoming clinical development in infectious diseases and vaccines. Contact our ID&V experts today.

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