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

Throughout the EU, numerous individuals are fearful about the novel coronavirus and its swift unfold. The EU project Prepare, which started in 2014, is responding to COVID-19 by quickly evaluating Europe’s preparedness and deploying critical medical exploration.


© peterschreiber.media #29566380 source: inventory.adobe.com 2020

The novel coronavirus, which initial erupted at the conclude of 2019 in mainland China and is now spreading in excess of a lot more than a hundred international locations throughout the world, is obtaining a sizeable impact. The virus causes a respiratory sickness known as COVID-19 which passes quickly from man or woman to man or woman and may possibly be a lot more extreme than seasonal influenza. In Europe, a swift reaction is important to restrict its result.

In 2014, the EU-funded Prepare project set up a platform for European preparedness towards rising epidemics. It has been designed to guarantee that medical exploration is set in movement to study the numerous uncertainties designed by a new sickness, which has the potential to threaten the health and security of European citizens.

‘When confronted with a new infectious sickness like COVID-19, healthcare experts and community health authorities confront numerous uncertainties. We have to have to know how it spreads, who is most at possibility, how extreme the sickness is, and how people are greatest identified and treated,’ says Professor Peter Horby of the University of Oxford and a member of PREPARE’s Outbreak Manner Committee (OMC).

Clinical exploration and trials are key to acquiring responses. However, this action usually does not come about all through the initial levels of an outbreak, which indicates that scientists miss opportunities to make improvements to the reaction to the new sickness. Prepare bridges this hole by becoming able to rapidly put medical exploration into motion in a bid to preserve life and progress healthcare know-how.

Be prepared

Prepare operates in four diverse modes: method takes place when there is no particular danger and exploration into generic preparedness functions can just take location. Manner 1 – ‘prepare’ – is activated when a particular sickness presents a minimal danger to Europe. Manner 2 – ‘mobilisation’ – is deployed when there is a potential danger to Europe. Ultimately, Manner three – ‘response’ is reserved for an speedy danger.

When a particular sickness emerges, these types of as that creating COVID-19, the project’s OMC intently displays the scenario and coordinates the acceptable European reaction. The OMC includes four top professors in the area of rising infectious disorders.

During Manner , when there is no epidemic, Prepare carries out medical exploration, which includes the MERMAIDS-ARI observational study with people who have indicators of acute respiratory infections, and the REMAP-CAP intervention study testing diverse cure alternatives in people with extreme lung infections.

The project has also evaluated the willingness of European citizens to just take component in exploration and trials in the occasion of an epidemic or pandemic. This evaluation confirmed potent community assist for pandemic-pertinent medical exploration initiatives.  

‘Extensive medical and laboratory do the job has been carried out to fully grasp the development of extreme sickness in a huge observational study of people infected with prevalent respiratory viruses, which includes the four recognised seasonal human coronaviruses. This supplies a distinctive information repository and biobank for comparative immunology and pathogenesis experiments for COVID-19,’ says Professor Menno de Jong of the University of Amsterdam and deputy project coordinator.

Be prepared

On 22 January, Prepare entered method 1 in reaction to the novel Coronavirus outbreak. During this phase, the project assessed Europe’s readiness by pinpointing know-how and source gaps and getting ready medical protocols. PREPARE’s associates also produced original protocols for detecting the virus and collaborated with other medical exploration networks.

On 6 February 2020, Prepare raised its reaction to method 2. Beneath this method, it sent surveys to 270 of its diagnostic laboratories, spanning 42 European international locations, to assess their capacities to detect the virus. If the number of scenarios in Europe rises, a network of hospitals and key-treatment websites throughout the EU are ready to carry out additional exploration into COVID-19.

PREPARE’s OMC has now moved to a Manner three reaction offered that sustained transmission of the sickness has been detected amongst the European population. ‘If the current epidemic is not contained, and we have to have to get ready for a pandemic circumstance, our networks are ready to do the important experiments and trials. We will carry out these trials under Recover, a new project funded by the European Union as a reaction to the speedy danger of the novel coronavirus worldwide outbreak,’ says Professor Herman Goossens of the University of Antwerp (Belgium), project coordinator of Prepare and Recover.

Prepare is linked to other worldwide EU-funded medical exploration networks which includes ALERRT and PANDORA in sub Saharan Africa, and ZikaPLAN, ZIKAlliance and ZIKAction in Latin The us.