Emergency Funding Action for Coronavirus Outbreak: 17 new Projects with 7 Teams from Switzerland
Published on 31 March 2020
Author: Sasha Hugentobler, National Contact Point Health
On 30 January 2020, the European Commission launched a request for expressions of interest entitled “SC1-PHECORONAVIRUS-2020: Advancing knowledge for the clinical and public health response to the [COVID-19] epidemic” with a budget of €10 million subsequently increased to €47.5 million.
Such rapid reaction is made possible by the standing budget line for emergency research funds that the Commission maintains as part of the Horizon 2020 annual work programmes for Health research.
This enabled 17 projects to be short-listed for funding, involving 136 research teams from across the EU and beyond and 7 from Switzerland (for example the IRB in Bellinzona) who will work on:
- Improving epidemiology and public health, including our preparedness and response to outbreaks
- Rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests. Increased efforts will concentrate on enabling front-line health workers to make the diagnosis more quickly and more accurately, which will in turn reduce the risk of further spread of the virus
- New treatments, in which a dual approach will be adopted. Firstly, accelerating the development of new treatments currently in the pipeline (including therapeutic peptides, monoclonal antibodies and broadspectrum antivirals), and secondly, screening and identifying molecules that could work against the virus, using advanced modelling and computing techniques
- Development of new vaccines. The research will focus on developing a prophylactic vaccine and a therapeutic vaccine, which will be used for prevention and treatment respectively
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