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The June issue of the Annals always appears at the time of the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology. For the past 2 years, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) Congress was migrated to a virtual conference and it is a necessity and a pleasure to thank the whole EULAR team for the fantastic and successful efforts to run the virtual EULAR Congress smoothly, despite all the obstacles and risks of such an endeavour. However, a virtual conference is just not the same as a live meeting—a sentiment already addressed in my 2020 Greetings editorial.1 But we all can relax a bit now: 2022 will be different from 2020 and 2021 with the opportunity to reconvene in person at the Congress in Copenhagen—what a change now in the third year of the pandemic, what a change with the availability of vaccines and medicines and the decreasing aggressiveness of the virus.
One year ago I brought the influenza pandemic in 1918–1920 to mind and mentioned that it had costed more lives than the first World War.2 Yet now, in the middle of the pandemic that has caused already about 6.5 million deaths by end of March,3 we have to witness the overt instigation of a new war within our peaceful European continent. Some thoughts on this tragedy and folly will be raised separately in this issue.4 But just to clearly annotate here, as a consequence of the war in the Ukraine many patients’ ailments can no longer be appropriately treated, many doctors cannot work in their hospitals and practices and medicines have become sparse. People suffer and possibly die not only from the direct consequences of war but also from the loss of diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities. For all these reasons the call for immediate resurrection of piece is of highest urgency.
Scientific advances are built on the ability to work and having necessary and sufficient resources, to do research in settings of opportunity, stability and peace. Exchange of most recent advances that arise are then reported in journals like ARD and at conferences like the EULAR Congress.
The possibility to report advances of rheumatology research in Europe arose exactly 75 years ago, when EULAR was founded and the First European Congress of Rheumatology was held in Copenhagen, where we meet this year to not only further advance the field but also to commemorate the foundation of EULAR. Of course, as the world’s oldest rheumatology journal and as The EULAR Journal, ARD is delighted to be among the first to congratulate EULAR on the occasion of this anniversary.
To this end, ARD’s former editor Tore Kvien looked at some of the papers published in ARD in 1947 to see what has been, and what may not have been, resolved during these three quarters of a century. Among these papers were reports on the First European Congress of Rheumatology and on the latest Congress of the American Rheumatism Association, as ACR was then called—historic moments in the evolution of our field. This time-ride into the past is presented as a 'Pillar in Rheumatology’ paper5 in ARD’s section on ‘Heroes and Pillars of Rheumatology’, under which a number of highly renowned persons have been highlighted, persons of days long passed, but also persons whom many of us have still encountered and interacted with very recently.6–11 In passing, I note that this series has raised questions around gender aspects12 and I wish to reiterate13 that I hope ARD will receive more papers on female heroes14 in the near future. Looking back at past achievements, past achievers and previous publications are often very enlightening and important for the sake of advancement and to enhance scientific integrity. Confucius said: ‘Study the past if you would define the future’ and, in this sense, Pearl Buck reiterated: ‘If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday’.15 To this end, Kimme Hyrich, Hans Bijlsma and Dimitris Boumpas will present to you further historic ‘pillars’ in the course of the second half of 2022.
Inspired by EULAR’s 75th anniversary, ARD will host a ‘EULAR News’ page from now on. This will provide the leadership of EULAR with the opportunity to inform its constituency about new developments and discussions within this great organisation. ARD itself has founded a new section ‘Images in Rheumatology’—you are welcome to read the details regarding this novel publication element in the instructions to authors which are available online. This will hopefully further increase the value of ARD for our readers and authors and complement the journal’s scope. As you know, over and beyond this new section and the ‘Heroes and Pillars’ segment just mentioned above, the journal provides an opportunity to ‘think the unthinkable’ and to discuss ‘views on news’. In this latter section of the current June issue of ARD, Pisetsky and Winthrop address a paper published in a non-rheumatological journal which provides new evidence on the importance of cell-mediated immunity for the protective effects of vaccines.16 As you will certainly recall, ARD spearheaded the reporting on cellular immune responses in patients with rheumatic diseases, including those who lacked B cells,17–19 and while assumed to play a major role, it was still not clear from these findings the extent to which the T-cell response is protective; some answers to this important question now come from the paper reviewed as ‘News’ in this issue.
What else do we present in the June issue of ARD? Three EULAR points to consider, or recommendations, on imaging, cardiovascular risk management and observational data are published in print this month.20–22 Another ‘Views-on-News’ piece is presented by Fanouriakis et al and deals with new therapeutic options for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), including lupus nephritis,23 24 which will likely be followed by an update of the respective EULAR recommendations in due course.
Importantly, most of the background papers on systematic reviews informing EULAR recommendations or points to consider are published in ARD’s sister journal RMD Open.25–27 Its first editor, Bernard Combe, has been highly successful in launching the journal and has guided it thoughtfully over many years. His term as editor-in-chief will end this summer and it is a desire to thank him for his great and kindhearted partnership over so many years. He will be succeeded by Gerd Burmester, yet another premier rheumatologist and scientist with whom the cooperation between the EULAR journals will continue at the highest level and with whom to interact will be a similar pleasure as with his predecessor. Thank you very much Bernard, and welcome Gerd!
Speaking of cooperation and recommendations: just a month ago, recommendations for the diagnosis and management of a subset of autoinflammatory diseases, jointly developed by ACR and EULAR, were published in parallel by ARD and A&R.28 29 I am mentioning this fact to ensure that our readers realise how much collegiality and common focus toward taking the field forward govern the relationship between these two major rheumatology organisations and also the relationship between the two top rheumatology journals. Of note, the current A&R editor Daniel Solomon and the current ARD editor not only collaborate scientifically30–33 but also cooperate in collegiality and friendship when general publication issues or matters of advancing scientific reporting arise. Indeed, spearheaded by Dr Solomon, this effort recently also involved all other EULAR and ACR journals, which published an editorial and editors’ comments in parallel and, thus, in the same spirit.34–38 Needless to say that this spirit was already present in interactions with the previous A&R editor, Richard Bucala, who, by the way, recently presented a fine piece on historical accounts regarding COVID-19.39
Suddenly, we are back to history. Admittedly, this Greetings article referred to history in several ways—to the history of infections, the history of European peace, the history of rheumatology and the history of EULAR and the importance to be willing to learn from history, for a better world, for peace and for the advancement of culture, science and health to best serve our patients…no, not just for our patients, but for all of us and the generations to come.
With my wholehearted wishes for peace and best wishes for a great EULAR Congress.
Patient consent for publication
The author would like to cordially thank Christiane Notarmarco, Iain McInnes, Hans Bijlsma and Daniel Aletaha for their review of and suggestions for this manuscript.
Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.