The 2020 was a difficult year for many people and in many regards. Yet, if there is one lesson to be learned from this crisis that most strongly affected the older people, it is the realization of the need to therapeutically treat degenerative aging processes to prevent aging-related ill health as a whole, including both aging-related chronic degenerative non-communicable diseases and communicable infectious diseases for which the older persons are most vulnerable. This has been the mission of the International Longevity Alliance (ILA) and this year emphasized how important it is to advance this mission.
This year the ILA continued to follow its mission and throughout the year promoted research and advocacy for aging amelioration and healthy longevity.
Below is a list of some of the works and achievements of the ILA during the year. Thanks to all who were the involved and all who supported this vital mission!
– In March 2020, the ILA, Open Longevity, and many other leading longevity organizations, activists and experts created a joint petition for data openness on COVID-19 and aging-related risk factors, which has been distributed and submitted to WHO officials.
– Also in March, ILA members massively endorsed the joint petition to World Health Organization – “WHO must prioritise the needs of older people in its response to the covid-19 pandemic”. See: BMJ 2020; 368 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1164
– An article on classification of aging as a disease in the ICD-11 system “Aging Fits the Disease Criteria of the International Classification of Diseases” was published in the scientific journal Mechanisms of Aging and Development, following the inclusion of aging as a modifier of disease into the ICD-11 classification system mainly thanks to the ILA initiative. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0047637420300257?via%3Dihub&
– A special research topic was included in the scientific journal Frontiers in Genetics, driven by ILA members and scientific advisors, concerning “Clinical evaluation criteria for aging and aging-related multimorbidity”
– A position paper “The Urgent Need for International Action for Anti-aging and Disease Prevention’ was published and promoted with the ILA participation
– Another position paper with the ILA participation “Geroscience in the Age of COVID-19” advocated for the vital need to promote geroscience research, development and application for effectively tackling the COVID-19 crisis and possible future crises resulting from deteriorating health of older persons.
2020 was a challenging year for many of the ILA federated members. Yet their activities were maintained.
– Thus, a reference site of the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Aging (EIP-AHA), aimed to promote distributed anti-aging tests, was developed in France, by the ILA France branch and federated member “Longévité et Santé”.
– The German longevity community of the ILA federated member “The Society for Healthy Aging and Prevention”, due to the pandemic, could not continue their regular activities (local meetings of activists, events in cooperation with fitness centers and retirement homes). However, they were successful in maintaining their non-profit status (important within the German tax system). They also created a new support group to help with repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic (ExCoronaHilfe https://excoronahilfe.de/).
– On May 16, in honor of the 175th anniversary of the founder of gerontology – Elie Metchnikoff, the ILA organized the international online conference “The 1st Metchnikoff’s Day Online Conference – Aging, Immunity and COVID-19”. The conference emphasized the importance of enhancing the immune system in older persons, the research topic that goes back to the foundations of gerontology.
– In June, the ILA federated member – the Slovenian Society for Vital Life Extension – organized an international conference on longevity research and advocacy, with the support of ILA and a strong participation of ILA members.
– In July, the ILA members and partners in Bulgaria, including the University of National and World Economy, Sofia, and Bulgarian Academic Simulation and Gaming Association, organized an international online conference with a special focus on longevity research, with the support of ILA and strong participation of ILA members.
– In October, following the tradition since 2013, the ILA organized the International Longevity Day / Longevity Month educational and advocacy campaign in support of longevity research. As physical meetings were difficult to organize this year, a series of online events and promotions took place, including media coverage, involving thousands of participants from around the world.
– Among the events with the strongest impact was the Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging that took place online on October 1, and brought together leading international longevity researchers and over 150 participants, and created media coverage. The event was chiefly organized by Healthy Life Extension Society (HEALES) in cooperation with the ILA.
– Following the conference on October 1st, the Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing created and distributed a declaration on “Aging biomarkers and clinical tests”.
– As part of the Longevity Month campaign, the International Longevity Alliance organized the first of its kind prize Competition to support longevity activism, advocacy and raising public awareness about longevity research. 11 excellent contributions arrived from around the world – Russia, Germany, Spain, Pakistan, Nigeria, Morocco, India, Brazil, USA. With all the difficulty to select, the winners were announced, and additional commendations provided. Indeed, the aim of this competition was not to “select the best”, but to encourage more longevity activism. The ILA hopes this prize has contributed to this aim and we hope this tradition will continue.
– In October, the ILA federated member – Forbladi Association (Morocco) that joined the ILA this year, launched its project “Longevity Research Support”. It is hoped that this project will help significantly advance longevity research and advocacy in Africa and the Arabic-speaking community.
– In 2020, the ILA grew to include 23 non-profit associations from 20 countries as federated members.
If you represent a non-profit association from anywhere in the world, you are welcome to submit your application to join the ILA as a federated member, to expand the global support network for longevity research and advocacy. For this and other forms of cooperation, welcome to write to the ILA board: firstname.lastname@example.org
– With the technical difficulties experienced by the main ILA site http://www.longevityalliance.org/ by the end of 2020, currently, the ILA is working to develop its new website format, that will include enhanced features for outreach and community building, such as an interactive longevity activists map, a newsletter, auxiliary pages for local activists groups, and more. Currently, the site http://www.longevityforall.org/ serves as an auxiliary site of the ILA.
All the ILA activities show that longevity activism, even in this difficult period, is alive and actively working for its vital mission to build up public support for more longevity science, for a better, more healthy and resilient future for all of us. Hopefully, more longevity activism will be done in the future. And hopefully, more support, both human and other resources, will be given to longevity activism, to enable it to succeed in its mission.