Due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, the European Commission is using all the measures at its disposal to help overcome the current coronavirus crisis in order to reduce the greatest number of victims and mitigate the economic and social repercussions that it may cause.
In the field of research and innovation, the European Commission is dedicating a large part of its efforts as everyone has their hopes of finding a vaccine. For that reason, the European Commission is financing more than 140 million euros for European projects and scientists working to develop a vaccine to end this situation, in addition to rapid diagnostic tests and new treatments that help save lives.
The Commission has earmarked 80 million euros of this budget for the German biopharmaceutical CureVac, which is working on the development of a coronavirus vaccine that could produce millions of doses at low cost. Some of its experts say the vaccine could be tested starting in June.
Under the Horizon 2020 program, the Commission has selected 18 projects funded with € 48.5 million for the development of vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests, medical tests and prevention systems.
Of these 45 million euros will go to research on vaccines and treatments. Some of these projects are:
- ZAPI: The Zoonotic Anticipation and Preparation Initiative works to create platforms and technologies to facilitate a rapid, coordinated and practical response to new infectious diseases.
- VALUE-Dx: Sharing antimicrobial resistance involves optimizing the use of antibiotics. That’s what VALUE-Dx is all about, implementing custom prescription strategies for doctors to use.
- COMBACTE-NET: The Fight against bacterial resistance in Europe is dedicated to building strong clinics, laboratories and research chains around Europe. COMBACT-NET have established a European network of health centers and hospitals to launch rapid strategies.
- COMBACTE MAGNET: Within the previous project, this epidemiological network that connects various European disease surveillance systems has also emerged.
- EXSCALATE is a platform that analyzes COVID-19 proteins using databases from the scientific community in order to accelerate the search for a solution to the pandemic.
- BioExcel is used for large-scale virtual detection of potential medical compounds, such as drug molecules or antibodies. EuroHPC has favored access to these systems to combat Coronavirus.
On the other hand, on April 27, during an informal conference, the ministers responsible for research and innovation approved the 10 priority actions of the first ERAvsCorona Action Plan. These actions establish key measures that the Commission services and the Member States are activating to jointly coordinate, share and increase support for research and innovation, in accordance with the objectives and tools of the European Research Area.
The actions that make up this plan are:
- Coordination of R&I funding against the Coronavirus.
- Extending and supporting large EU wide clinical trials for clinical management of Coronavirus patients.
- New funding for innovative and rapid health-related approaches to respond to coronavirus and deliver quick results relevant to society and a higher level of preparedness of health systems
- Creating opportunities for other funding sources to contribute to R&I actions on Coronavirus.
- Establish a one-stop shop for Coronavirus R&I funding.
- Establish an ad-hoc High Level R&I Task Force on the Coronavirus.
- Access to Research Infrastructures.
- Research data sharing platform.
- Pan-EU Hackathon to mobilise European innovators and civil society.