COVID-19 outbreak: overview of European and global research and support measures

1. Innovative Medicines Initiative

On 3 March, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched a fast-track call for proposals on the development of therapeutics and diagnostics to tackle current and future coronavirus outbreaks. The call has a budget of EUR 45 million – this comes from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and will fund the involvement in the projects of organisations such as universities, NGOs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Large pharmaceutical companies that are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and IMI Associated Partners will not receive EU funding through this Call, but are expected to contribute to the projects with their own resources (e.g. staff time) and funds.

 

Scope
 

  • development of antivirals as well as other types of therapeutics to address a rapid response to the current COVID-19 outbreak
  • development of therapeutics to address the current and/or future coronavirus outbreaks
  • development of diagnostics, ensuring rapid evaluation of candidates based on existing technologies
  • development of fast and reliable tools that go beyond the state of the art for detection of COVID-19 carriers and symptomatic individuals suspected of COVID-19 infection.
     

Budget
 

  • From EFPIA companies and IMI Associated Partners: to be defined based upon selected proposals
  • From the IMI budget: €45 million.

 

Submission deadline

31 March. The projects will be evaluated in April and grant agreements will most likely be signed in June or July.

For full details of the topic, including the budget breakdown and the General Conditions for the Call for proposals, please see the link hereafter:
https://www.imi.europa.eu/sites/default/files/IMI2%20Call%2021%20Coronavirus%20-%20Call%20text_final.pdf

2. Horizon 2020
On 30 January 2020, the European Commission launched a request for expressions of interest entitled “SC1-PHE-CORONAVIRUS-2020: Advancing knowledge for the clinical and public health response to the [COVID-19] epidemic”. Subsequently, the budget was increased to €47.5 million given the scale of the outbreak and the potential of the research projects submitted. Applicants were invited to submit proposals for research on COVID-19 vaccine development, treatment and diagnostics. The European Commission selected 17 projects involving 136 research teams from across the EU and beyond, which will start working on developing vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical systems aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.

3. Ongoing research projects
In the past years the European Commission has invested in research to prepare exactly for this type of public health emergency. Several EU funded projects are currently contributing to the European and global preparedness and response activities.

 

  • The PREPARE project, which supports the readiness of hospitals in Europe and enhances their understanding of the dynamics of the outbreak. This project has upgraded its response efforts to the novel Coronavirus epidemic to Outbreak Research Response Mode 3, the highest response mode. This means that PREPARE will immediately initiate and implement clinical research studies on COVID-19 across Europe. Activities implemented by PREPARE are planned and conducted in close collaboration with partner networks and the European Commission, and in alignment with WHO and ECDC.
  • The European Virus Archive - GLOBAL (EVA-GLOBAL or EVAg), a virtual collection for human, animal and plant viruses, which to date has already responded to more than 1200 requests to provide access to the necessary material for diagnosing COVID-19.
  • The Commission is working with other research funders through the “Global research collaboration for infectious disease preparedness” (GloPID-R) network. This network is mobilised to facilitate a rapid and effective response to this outbreak, through the coordination of research agenda and addressing priority research needs. EU grant to support GloPID-R 2: €1.3 million.

 

4. European Innovation Council funding

The European Commission is calling for startups and SMEs with technologies and innovations that could help in treating, testing, monitoring or other aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak to apply urgently to the next round of funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) through the EIC Accelerator, which is an instrument that supports top class innovators, entrepreneurs and small companies with funding opportunities.
 

Scope

 

“Bottom up” call, which means that there are no predefined thematic priorities. Applicants with COVID-19 related innovations will be evaluated in the same way as other applicants. Nevertheless, the European Commission will look to fast track the awarding of EIC grants and blended finance (combining grant and equity investment) to Coronavirus relevant innovations, as well as to facilitate access to other funding and investment sources.

 

Budget: €164 million.


Deadline for applications: Wednesday, 18 March, 17:00 CET.

Please click
here for more details.

 

1. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) publishes daily updates and provides risk assessments to guide Member States and the European Commission in their response activities.

Please click
here to access the ECDC website.


2. European Medicines Agency

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided to provide free and fast-tracked scientific advice to applications from developers of potential therapeutics or vaccines against the coronavirus disease. Developers of potential therapeutics or vaccines against COVID-19 are invited to contact the agency as soon as possible with information about their proposed development, by emailing 2019-ncov@ema.europa.eu.  

EMA closely monitors the potential impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on human and veterinary medicine supply chains in the EU. This includes working with pharmaceutical industry associations, companies and manufacturers in the EU to assess the resilience of supply chains.

For more information on EMA’s activities, please click
here.

1. Solidarity Response Fund
A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO.

 

Funds will go towards actions outlined in the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to enable all countries – particularly those most vulnerable and at-risk, and with the weakest health systems – to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 crisis including rapidly detecting cases, stopping transmission of the virus, and caring for those affected.

 

WHO and its partners are seeking financing for protective equipment for frontline health workers; to equip diagnostic laboratories; improve surveillance and data collection; establish and maintain intensive care units; strengthen supply chains; accelerate research and development of vaccines and therapeutics;  and take other critical steps to scale up the public health response to the pandemic.

 

For more information on the Solidarity Response Fund, please click here.


2. Research database
WHO is gathering the latest scientific findings and knowledge on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and compiling it in a database. The database is daily updated from searches of bibliographic databases, hand searches of the table of contents of relevant journals, and the addition of other relevant scientific articles that come to our attention. The entries in the database may not be exhaustive and new research will be added regularly.

Please click here to access the database.

 

3. Global Research Roadmap

World scientists on COVID-19 met at the World Health Organization’s Geneva headquarters from 11 to 12 February 2020 to assess the current level of knowledge about the new virus, agree on critical research questions that need to be answered urgently, and ways to work together to accelerate and fund priority research that can contribute to curtail this outbreak and prepare for future outbreaks.

 

This document presents a Global Research Roadmap with immediate, mid-term and longer-term priorities to build a robust global research response on the basis of the deliberations during the Global Research Forum. Comments and suggestions can be sent to lauriex@who.int.

 

4. Country and Technical Guidance & Situation Reports

Please consult country and technical guidance documents as well as situation reports regularly published on the WHO website.

 

5. Rapid Advice Guideline on the use of imaging in COVID-19 patients

WHO is planning to develop rapid advice guidance on the use of imaging in COVID-19 patients and is currently setting up a Guideline Development Group (GDG)

On 9 March, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided to provide diagnostic kits, equipment and training in nuclear-derived detection techniques to countries asking for assistance in tackling the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.


More information can be found on the IAEA website.

Selected Publications & other Resources

The role of imaging in the COVID-19 pandemic

Guidance for radiologists in dealing with COVID-19 patients

Belgium

Belgian Society of Radiology

 

Czech Republic

Czech Radiological Society

 

Estonia

Estonian Society of Radiology

 

France

French Society of Radiology

 

Germany

German Radiological Society

 

Hungary

Hungarian Society of Radiologists

 

Israel

Israel Radiological Association

 

Italy

Italian Society of Radiology

 

Malta

Maltese Association of Radiologists AND Nuclear Medicine Physicians

 

Netherlands

Radiological Society of the Netherlands

 

New Zealand, Australia

The Royal Australian and NZ College of Radiologists

 

Norway

Norwegian Society of Radiology

 

Republic of Srpska

Society of Radiology

 

Slovakia

Slovak Radiological Society

 

Spain

Spanish Society of Radiology SERAM

 

Sweden

Swedish society of Radiology

 

Ukraine

Association of Radiologists of Ukraine

 

United Kingdom

Royal College of Radiologists

 

United States

RSNA

American College of Radiology