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EU funds urgent research into combatting Covid variants

EU funds urgent research into combatting Covid variants

Coronavirus research - Photo © European Union 2021

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission announced Wednesday it is mobilising EUR 123 million from its new EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe, for urgent research into coronavirus variants.

This first emergency funding under Horizon Europe adds to a range of EU-funded research and innovation actions to fight the coronavirus and contributes to the Commission's overall action to prevent, mitigate and respond to the impact of coronavirus variants, in line with the new European bio-defence preparedness plan HERA Incubator.

"We must use our combined strength to be prepared for the future," said the EU's Research Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, "starting from the early detection of the variants to the organisation and coordination of clinical trials for new vaccines and treatments, while ensuring correct data collection and sharing at all stages."

New calls for urgent research into coronavirus variants

The Commission launched new calls that complement earlier actions to develop treatments and vaccines by organising and conducting clinical trials to advance the development of promising therapeutics and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. They will support the development of large scale, COVID-19 cohorts and networks beyond Europe's borders, forging links with European initiatives, as well as reinforce the infrastructures needed to share data, expertise, research resources and expert services among researchers and research organisations.

The projects funded are expected to:

  • Establish new and/or build on existing large-scale, multi-centre and regional or multinational cohorts, including beyond Europe's borders, which should rapidly advance the knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants.
  • Further develop promising therapeutic or vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, having already completed preclinical development in clinical studies.
  • Support research infrastructures to speed up data sharing and deliver fast research support and expertise, to confront the coronavirus variants and to be ready for future epidemics.

The successful consortia are expected to collaborate with other relevant initiatives and projects at national, regional, and international level to maximise synergies and complementarity and avoid duplication of the research efforts.

These emergency calls will tackle the short to medium-term threat and simultaneously prepare for the future. They will contribute to building the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), which will enable the EU to anticipate and better tackle future pandemics.

The calls will open for submissions on 13 April and the deadline for submission is 6 May 2021. The new solutions need to be available and affordable for all, in line with the principles of the Coronavirus Global Response.

Horizon Europe

EU coronavirus research and innovation


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