Following a month of August when the tourism industry gained momentum in the interior of the country, in a summer marked by the forest fires drama, Russian propaganda with the guarantee of a vaccine against covid-19 at the beginning of next year, the explosion that devastated Beirut, turning the capital of Lebanon into ashes, the outbreaks of covid-19 in Portuguese homes for the elderly, the discussion about the pandemic management among the most vulnerable population, and when the alarms of reinfection sounded, witnessing a wave of protests against the restrictions imposed to avoid contagion in Europe, we have now reached the month of all new beginnings. September was time to return to the normality that the pandemic interrupted. The students returned to face-to-face classes and many Portuguese stopped teleworking, restarting to clock in and out at their usual workplaces. We returned to the state of contingency with some restrictions and investment on prevention, because the virus remains with us and the risk is more real than ever at a time of reunions and great mobility of the populations, with the headlines of newspapers and public debate highlighting the increase in the number of daily covid-19 cases.
In a month when one of the most controversial events (Festa do Avante – Communist Party Rally) took place (involved in controversy and protests) and the use of the Stayaway Covid screening application spread, we started September with the students figuring prominently. We shared the vision of the current President of the FMUL Student Association, José Rodrigues, about the start of the new academic year, the challenges of lockdown and how our students were mobilized to make a greater contribution in the fight against the new coronavirus.
In the month of awareness of dystonia, we heard Professor Joaquim Ferreira on a neurological disease which, albeit rare, affects thousands of Portuguese.
We made progress regarding the “perfect storm – when COVID-19 coincides with the flu season” in a pertinent analysis by Professor Francisco Antunes.
We also applauded the recognition of Professor Maria do Carmo Fonseca in the #EUwomen4future European campaign and divulged the National Serological Panel promoted by the Institute of Molecular Medicine in a new study that covers 12 thousand people, with the most complete evaluation carried out so far on the prevalence of covid-19 infection in Portugal.
We contested what we consider to be an “unwise” decision with serious consequences for the quality of medicine in Portugal” following the accreditation of the first medical degree offered by a private university and we understand that the “good results” only happen when there is collaboration between Health and Economics, as stated by Professor Fausto Pinto about the epidemiological situation in Portugal in his sharp analysis.
And in the month when we crossed the barrier of the 60 thousand infected in our country, we tried to understand the increase in the contagion by listening to Professor Miguel Castanho, who also explained the major challenges facing scientific research in times of pandemic. We continued with research in the field of Biomedical Sciences, proud of the recognition of the projects of Professors Luísa Figueiredo and Carmo Fonseca, and discussed the importance of early diagnosis of and intervention in allergic diseases with Professor Manuel Branco Ferreira.
We shared the opinion of Professor Diogo Ayres de Campos on pregnant women with covid-19, in a call for constant improvement in the conditions of public service health care.
We congratulated Luís Pedro Monteiro, doctor of clinical hematology and doctoral student at LisbonBioMed for winning the Research Grant on Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. And because information is undoubtedly the best ally in adverse times like today, we clarify all questions about classes at FMUL during pandemic.
Prevention remains at the top of our institution's priority list, so we announced a 2nd phase of diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as a Flu Vaccination Programme, aimed at the non-clinical community and all students enrolled at the various levels of education.
In September, we also marked the first anniversary of the Faculty's new website in a new edition of FMUL in Numbers and presented the Public Consultation of the Draft Regulation for the functioning of the Reynaldo dos Santos Building, where we created the future of Medicine and revolutionized medical teaching, innovating in excellence and modernity at the highest level.
We discussed the reliability of quick testing and called for caution in choosing and using these tests when screening for covid-19, with the clarification of Professor Thomas Hanscheid.
We remain at the forefront of knowledge and have opened yet another Postgraduate Updating Course, which aims to be a source of up-to-date information on the various aspects of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infection.
We also highlighted what is the privileged meeting point for students, researchers, clinicians and lecturers, starting the countdown to the 7th edition of Beyond MEd, the FMUL Medical Education Congress, which establishes new bridges with the world and promises to be a special revelation this year, when we will meet digitally.
Even in the face of periods of greater adversity, we remain united, because only together will we be able to reach the next levels of success and consolidate a new World, which now begins!