COVID-19: the EU is ready to respond – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Throughout the EU, several persons are concerned about the novel coronavirus and its rapid unfold. The EU venture Put together, which commenced in 2014, is responding to COVID-19 by promptly evaluating Europe’s preparedness and deploying crucial scientific investigate.


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The novel coronavirus, which to start with erupted at the close of 2019 in mainland China and is now spreading in excess of far more than one hundred nations around the world throughout the world, is acquiring a significant effects. The virus triggers a respiratory illness identified as COVID-19 which passes promptly from human being to human being and may perhaps be far more significant than seasonal influenza. In Europe, a rapid response is critical to restrict its outcome.

In 2014, the EU-funded Put together venture established up a system for European preparedness against emerging epidemics. It has been intended to ensure that scientific investigate is established in motion to study the several uncertainties created by a new illness, which has the probable to threaten the overall health and safety of European citizens.

‘When faced with a new infectious illness like COVID-19, clinical pros and public overall health authorities confront several uncertainties. We need to have to know how it spreads, who is most at possibility, how significant the illness is, and how individuals are very best identified and dealt with,’ suggests Professor Peter Horby of the College of Oxford and a member of PREPARE’s Outbreak Method Committee (OMC).

Clinical investigate and trials are critical to getting solutions. However, this stage typically does not come about throughout the to start with levels of an outbreak, which means that scientists skip opportunities to boost the response to the new illness. Put together bridges this hole by getting capable to promptly set scientific investigate into motion in a bid to preserve life and progress clinical know-how.

Be organized

Put together operates in four unique modes: manner takes place when there is no particular menace and investigate into generic preparedness things to do can get area. Method 1 – ‘prepare’ – is activated when a particular illness offers a minimal menace to Europe. Method two – ‘mobilisation’ – is deployed when there is a probable menace to Europe. Eventually, Method three – ‘response’ is reserved for an quick menace.

When a particular illness emerges, these types of as that triggering COVID-19, the project’s OMC intently displays the scenario and coordinates the correct European response. The OMC includes four leading professors in the field of emerging infectious conditions.

In the course of Method , when there is no epidemic, Put together carries out scientific investigate, like the MERMAIDS-ARI observational study with individuals who have signs or symptoms of acute respiratory infections, and the REMAP-CAP intervention study screening unique therapy selections in individuals with significant lung infections.

The venture has also evaluated the willingness of European citizens to get component in investigate and trials in the celebration of an epidemic or pandemic. This analysis showed powerful public assistance for pandemic-appropriate scientific investigate initiatives.  

‘Extensive scientific and laboratory perform has been carried out to understand the progress of significant illness in a big observational study of individuals infected with frequent respiratory viruses, like the four recognised seasonal human coronaviruses. This gives a exceptional info repository and biobank for comparative immunology and pathogenesis reports for COVID-19,’ suggests Professor Menno de Jong of the College of Amsterdam and deputy venture coordinator.

Be organized

On 22 January, Put together entered manner 1 in response to the novel Coronavirus outbreak. In the course of this phase, the venture assessed Europe’s readiness by figuring out know-how and resource gaps and getting ready scientific protocols. PREPARE’s companions also created first protocols for detecting the virus and collaborated with other scientific investigate networks.

On 6 February 2020, Put together raised its response to manner two. Less than this manner, it sent surveys to 270 of its diagnostic laboratories, spanning 42 European nations around the world, to evaluate their capacities to detect the virus. If the quantity of instances in Europe rises, a community of hospitals and principal-treatment sites across the EU are prepared to carry out even more investigate into COVID-19.

PREPARE’s OMC has now moved to a Method three response provided that sustained transmission of the illness has been detected amongst the European inhabitants. ‘If the latest epidemic is not contained, and we need to have to put together for a pandemic scenario, our networks are prepared to do the important reports and trials. We will carry out these trials beneath Recuperate, a new venture funded by the European Union as a response to the quick menace of the novel coronavirus world-wide outbreak,’ says Professor Herman Goossens of the College of Antwerp (Belgium), venture coordinator of Put together and Recuperate.

Put together is related to other world-wide EU-funded scientific investigate networks like ALERRT and PANDORA in sub Saharan Africa, and ZikaPLAN, ZIKAlliance and ZIKAction in Latin The us.