HERA Incubator, a new bio-defence preparedness programme in the EU, will receive €150 million to manage novel coronavirus mutations and ensure access to effective vaccines against them.
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European Commission has called member states to accelerate the roll-out of
their vaccination programmes. The aim is to have vaccinated 70% of the adult
population by summer 2021.
The programme is a pilot for the EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) and will incorporate permanent structures for risk modelling, threat assessment and surveillance. It will facilitate not only management of virus variants but also adaption of existing/new advance purchase agreements as well as regulatory approval of vaccines (including COVID-19 vaccines) and manufacturing infrastructures.
Through Horizon 2020, a new EU-wide vaccine trial network called VACCELERATE will be established supported by open data sharing, cohorts studies and vaccine trials. As of January 2021, the network, led by University-Hospital Köln, assessed over 180 vaccine trial sites (hospitals, primary care, paediatric networks, etc.) in 30 European countries on their capacity to perform vaccine trials. VACCELERATE will receive a €12 million grant to support the rapid establishment of a clinical research network.
Currently, 26 partners in 16 EU states participate in the VACCELERATE project together with five associated countries. A Stakeholder Working Group (SWG) of the network will include the European Medicines Agency (EMA), national authorities, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and other partners. The overall budget stands at €150 million, including €30 million from Horizon 2020 and €120 million from Horizon Europe. To date, the EU mobilised at least €350 million to support coronavirus vaccine development.
Besides the VACCELERATE, HERA Incubator also foresees further development of several existing projects, including ELIXIR-CONVERGE, the European Virus Archive (EVAg), the Versatile Emerging Infectious Disease Observatory (VEO) and others.