ORCHESTRA is an international project about cohort research on COVID-19. The larger the patient number in the cohorts, the greater becomes the chance of creating a wide clinical picture of the disease. This is why ORCHESTRA is open to collaborate with external cohorts and what motivates external cohorts to join ORCHESTRA. Seamas Donnelly, Professor of Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, took initiative earlier this year. He looked at the website of the European Commission to find out about medical initiatives, found and contacted ORCHESTRA, spread the news within a network of two prominent Dublin hospitals (The St James’s, Tallaght University Hospital, Trinity Alliance for Research – STTAR), joined ORCHESTRA and holds the lead of the Irish Cohort within ORCHESTRA.
Cohort research plays an important role in the international efforts of COVID-19 research and it is the core of ORCHESTRA’s network. – But what exactly is cohort research about? This interview with Prof. Janne Vehreschild provides an overview of meaning, chances and challenges of cohort research in general and of ORCHESTRA in particular. Janne Vehreschild has the lead of ORCHESTRA partner University Hospital of Cologne (UHC), and brings in extensive experience in the field of cohort research in different medical disciplines.
Keeping patient data as secure as possible is a central concern in the implementation of the ORCHESTRA network. Work Package 7, responsible for data management, addresses this task. The interview with Prof. Dr. Fabian Prasser from partner Berlin Institute of Health @Charité provides an insight into the challenges and the implications of the project for future research collaboration – and shows the importance of communication between the different partners.
Work Package 7 (WP7) deals with the task of data management in ORCHESTRA, a task which is particularly challenging as ORCHESTRA has 26 beneficiaries and many third parties and collaborations from about 15 European and non-European countries involved and works with cohorts located in different countries. A cohort means a large number of patients which are grouped by certain categories. E.g. ORCHESTRA’s Healthcare Worker Cohort researches the immunisation status of healthcare workers after vaccination or COVID-19 infection. Cohort research relies very obviously on data extraction and data analysis. In order to be able to draw correct information from the data, ORCHESTRA depends on common standards and codes. Yet, medical standardisation and harmonisation is a worldwide challenge which is still work in progress. Prof. Dr. Sylvia Thun, Eugenia Rinaldi und Caroline Stellmach from Charité partner are tackling this important task and speak openly about challenges, motivation and visions.