Dr. Aneta Afelt was awarded with the Nicolaus Copernicus’ medal of the Polish Academy of Sciences

The awards of the Polish Academy of Sciences were presented to the members of the interdisciplinary COVID-19 Advisory Team established by the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Medals are awarded for outstanding scientific achievements to scientists who deservedly contribute to the scientific community in Poland, who are not national members of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

See also: Research on zoonoses by Dr. Aneta Afelt, as well as the most important publications, conference recordings and press statements, at covid-19.icm.edu.pl.

Dr. Aneta Afelt works in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computer Modelling at the University of Warsaw. In March 2020 she became a member of the COVID-19 team at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and a scientific consultant for national representatives for COVID-19 activities at the European Research Council (ERC), since 30 June she has been the Secretary of the COVID-19 Advisory Team under the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since October 2019 she has been a guest of Espace-DEV research group, whose research area is modelling of socioecological niches. This laboratory is affiliated with IRD – Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier (France). She is also participates in international epidemiology and public health projects, incl. World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Aneta Afelt is a geographer, she deals with health geography and environmental science. Her research focuses on the interdisciplinary application of geography and its research apparatus in complex epidemiological analyses. She works, among others, within the countries of South-East Asia, where she studies the relationship between anthropogenic environmental disturbances and the risk of new zoonoses. A particularly important place for the application of geography and environmental sciences is in the One Health concept, whose philosophy is the interdependent consideration of human, animal and environmental health in a socioecological niche.

In April 2018, together with her colleagues, she published an article forecasting the risk of a new coronavirus outbreak in the South East Asia region: „Bats, Coronaviruses, and Deforestation: Toward the Emergence of Novel Infectious Diseases?” (Frontiers in Microbiology). She has been one of the first public voices in the country to speak openly about the inevitable appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Poland. As the reason for the inevitability of colonisation of the global community by the virus, she refers to our connectivity – intercontinental and regional, which is a network of individual transmissions from human to human.

The interdisciplinary advisory team for COVID-19 at the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences has been operating since June 2020. Scientists monitor the epidemic situation in Poland, closely follow possible scenarios and make recommendations.

Members of the advisory group were honored for “participating in the work of the interdisciplinary COVID-19 Advisory Team at the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, creating compendium of knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and COVID-19 disease, and the preparation of 21 statements on various aspects of the COVID-19 epidemic. “- we read in the resolution of the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The decision to award the medals was made on September 21st at the Presidium meeting on the basis of the recommendation of the award jury. On October 15th, the medals were received by:

  • Krzysztof Pyrć,
  • Magdalena Rosińska MD, PhD, DSc,
  • Tomasz Smiatacz MD, PhD, DSc,,
  • Aneta Afelt PhD,
  • Anna Ochab-Marcinek PhD, DSc,
  • Radosław Owczuk,
  • Wojciech Paczos PhD,
  • Anna Plater-Zyberk PhD.

The advisory team’s announcements are shaping the public debate about vaccines and the pandemic in Poland. To date, the team has published 22 detailed statements in which they made recommendations for public services and for society as a whole.

The 13th statement was presented in the United Nations report on the forum on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. This was the only “voice” from Poland. It presents the ideas of what we should do as a society in order to recover from the pandemic as soon as possible.

The chairman of the group is the president of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Prof. Jerzy Duszyński, and his deputy – Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć from the Jagiellonian University. The secretary is Anna Plater-Zyberk PhD from the Polish Academy of Sciences. The team also includes professors who are members of the Polish Academy of Sciences: Prof. Małgorzata Kossowska and Prof. Andrzej Rychard.