[Ip-health] Live Blog on R&D Funding regarding COVID-19 illustrative global nature of government support for R&D

Manon Ress manonress at gmail.com
Wed Apr 1 05:06:27 PDT 2020

This blog, which primarily serves those seeking R&D funding opportunities,
provides a look into the diverse sources of funding for COVID-19 related
R&D.  While far from comprehensive, it shows why a global pooling of rights
in such R&D can be important.

Also, the WHO R&D Observatory has been asked by legislators in Chile and
Ecuador and the government of Costa Rica to collect and share this type of
information.  We hope the WHO makes that happen too.


01 Apr 2020   |   News

LIVE BLOG: R&D response to COVID-19 pandemic

Latest: Scotland launches rapid COVID-19 research programme to tap
expertise in its universities

The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting universities and research institutes
across the world. But the same institutions are also working very hard to
find out how the disease can be stopped and its effects mitigated.

Follow this live blog for the latest updates on how the crisis is impacting
research and innovation, and what governments, funders, companies,
universities, associations and scientists are doing to stop or cope with
the pandemic.

12:58 CET, 01 April: Scotland launches rapid COVID-19 research programme to
tap expertise in its universities
Scotland’s chief scientist is calling on Scottish universities to apply for
funding for a portfolio of Covid-19 research drawn from the best ideas from
research investigators in their institutions that will inform clinical
practice and policy in dealing with COVID-19. Studies can start immediately
on award of funding and must be completed within 3 – 6 months. Grants of up
to £1.25 million are available. Application deadline: April 8.

12:57 CET, 01 April: Pakistan launches quick response research programme
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission has launched a programme supporting
applied research in areas including disease surveillance and epidemiology,
and in the rapid development and commercialization of products and services
that will help the country control COVID-19. On the product side, the
commission is interested in promoting domestic manufacturing of low cost
equipment and materials, including diagnostics, ventilators and personal
protective equipment. Universities, technologists and researchers are
invited to submit proposals. Projects will last for six months or one year,
with maximum funding of €82,500. Application deadline: April 3.

10:02 CET, 01 April: Argentina puts US$5M into coronavirus research
Argentina’s National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion has
announced a USD$5 million fund for COVID-19 research. Up to $100,000 is
available for each project. Application deadline: 10 April.

15:45 CET, 31 March: Botnar research centre launches fast track call for
COVID-19 research
The Botnar Research Centre for Child Health is calling on its four partner
institutions, the University of Basel, ETH Zurich, University Children’s
Hospital Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, to
submit proposals for short-term projects to develop diagnostics, increase
understanding of the human immune response to COVID-19 and improve
treatment and clinical management of patients infected with the virus.
Awards of up to CHF2.5 million (€2.3 million) are available. Application
deadline: 8 April.

15:34 CET, 31 March: Austrian Science Fund sets up fast track for
interdisciplinary coronavirus research
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is calling for scientists in the country to
submit project proposals for multidisciplinary research in COVID-19, which
will be funded within its existing programmes, but assessed in a new fast
track procedure. The fast track is open to proposals that deal with the
prevention, early detection, containment, causes and effects of epidemics
and pandemics such as COVID-19. This includes research focussed on the
technical, ecological, economic, political, legal, medical, cultural,
psychological, or ethical implications. Application deadline: 30 September.

15:24 CET, 31 March: Irish SME wins €1M Horizon 2020 grant for COVID-19
The European Commission has selected Irish diagnostics specialist Hibergene
to lead the 18th project to be awarded funding under its fast track
programme to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The €1 million project, ‘HG
nCov19 test’ aims to develop and validate a rapid molecular diagnostic test
for COVID-19. The award brings the total of COVID-19 funding from Horizon
2020 to €48.5 million.

14:05 CET, 31 March: UK foundation offers £65,000 grant for COVID-19
The British Medical Association Foundation for Medical Research is offering
a £65,000 grant to fund COVID-19 research. Eligible candidates are medical
practitioners or research scientists based in UK. Application deadline:
April 3

13:42 CET, 31 March: UK government Techforce 19 to fast track apps for
elderly and self-isolating
The UK government has launched Techforce 19, an assisted living programme
offering up to £25,000 grants to technology companies to speed the
introduction of products that support the elderly and those in need during
the COVID-19 outbreak. Application deadline: April 1.

13:32 CET, 31 March: La Caixa Foundation to fund clinical and translational
projects on COVID-19
Spain’s La Caixa Foundation has issued a call for research projects to
prevent, treat, monitor and diagnose coronavirus infections. The money is
for research carried out by public or non-profit entities, including
universities, research centres and hospitals. Grants of up to €300,000 per
project, for a maximum of 24 months, will be awarded. Application deadline:
15 April.

13:17 CET, 31 March: Portugal launches €3M call for data science and AI to
help with COVID-19 crisis
The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) is looking to
fund projects using data science to improve the response of public bodies
to COVID-19 and future pandemics. The scope covers processing, analysing
and presentation of data to provide information for citizens and healthcare
services that will enable them to better prepare for pandemics. Another
objective is to optimise best practices for public health and improve the
general public’s compliance with control measures. A total of €3 million is
available, with maximum grants per project of €240,000. Application
deadline: 28 May.

13:00 CET, 31 March: Canada to provide €8.8M for diagnostics and medical
The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is setting up a €8.8 million
rapid front-line fund to address challenges posed by the coronavirus. The
“Pandemic Response Challenge Programe” will focus research on rapid
detection and diagnosis; therapeutics and vaccine development; and digital
health. The NRC is inviting researchers at Canadian and international
universities, government departments, colleges, and companies, to give
apply their expertise to plug the gaps in COVID-19 research.

10:57 CET, 31 March: Polish science agency offers €2.2M top-up funding for
basic COVID research
Poland’s National Science Centre opened an “express” call for proposals for
fundamental research “to understand the mechanisms of the SARS-CoV-2
coronavirus.” The PLN10 million (€2.2 million) call, intended as a top-up
to researchers already working in the field, will be mainly for research
into how the virus works, how to protect against the disease, and the
social and psychological effects of the pandemic. Deadline for applications
is 14 April, with awards promised in early May.

14:42 CET, 30 March: Consortium including Karolinska Institutet awarded €3M
as part of Horizon 2020 special fund for coronavirus research
DNA manufacturing specialist, Cobra Biologics and the Karolinska Institutet
announced they were awarded €3 million as one of 17 COVID-19 projects
funded by Horizon 2020. The funding will be used for preclinical research
and a phase I clinical trial of a DNA vaccine, to be developed by the
Opencorona consortium. The first human trials will take place in 2021.

14:08 CET, 30 March: Canada approves funding of 49 COVID-19 research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research published details of 49 projects
in which it is investing CA$25.8 million (US$18.2 million) of the CA$275
million in extra funding dedicated to COVID-19 research announced on 11
March. The projects are focused on aspects of controlling the pandemic,
including clinical management, development of vaccines and diagnostics, the
transmission dynamics of the virus, and social and policy countermeasures.

11:52 CET, 30 March: European Open Science Cloud offers €45K grants for
COVID-19 projects
The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) has launched a fast track call for
projects that use its resources and open and trusted environment for data
sharing, to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. This will include projects
that open up scientific data on the virus; share live on-the-ground data on
the spread of the virus; work on the development of software, standards and
processes for monitoring COVID-19 treatments; and access and combine data
to help control COVID-19 and learn how to deal with similar viruses and
future outbreaks. EOSC says it will evaluate applications weekly, promising
a swift response.

11:30 CET, 30 March: Facebook founder to give $25M to COVID-19 Therapeutics
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are donating $25 Million to the
$125 million COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator fund set up earlier in March
by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Medical research charity
Wellcome Trust and credit card company Mastercard. The fund aims to
accelerate development of drugs to treat COVID-19 by speeding up evaluation
of new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat the coronavirus.

10:50 CET, 30 March: Global tech hackathon aims to combat COVID-19
The global tech community is calling for people to join an online hackathon
to share and rapidly develop ideas for dealing with the socio-economic
crisis caused by COVID-19 and increase resilience in its aftermath. From an
initial event in Estonia, the ‘Hack the Crisis’ hackathon has rapidly grown
into a worldwide movement that will culminate in the ‘Global Hack’.
Countries including Turkey, France, Poland, India, Brazil and Australia,
have organised ‘Hack the Crisis’ events.

16:28 CET, 27 March: Norway issues €2.5M emergency call for collaborative
The Research Council of Norway launched a call to scientists in the country
for research proposals to improve patient management and the national and
international public health preparedness and response to the COVID-19
pandemic. Applicants are encouraged to work in cooperation with public
and/or private sectors. The Research Council will provide between €85,000 -
 €420,000 per project, with total funding of €2.5 million. Application
deadline: 31 March.

16:16 CET, 27 March: Publisher to pay fees for COVID-19 related social
sciences research
Emerald Publishing has set up a £20,000 fund to cover publication fees for
social sciences research relating to COVID-19 published on its open access
platform. The UK company is interested in submissions focused on prevention
and management, and on the impact of the coronavirus in healthcare systems.

16:02 CET, 27 March: Novo Nordisk Foundation to invest €2.6M on
preparedness for emerging viral infections
The Novo Nordisk Foundation is calling for submissions for
interdisciplinary research to strengthen the response and preparedness of
Denmark to new epidemic viral infections by improving surveillance and
early detection, epidemiology research, and national preparedness. There
are no restrictions on the locations of research groups, but the lead
applicant must be located in Denmark. A total of DKK20 million (€2.6
million) is available for two grants of up to DKK10 million. Application
deadline: 4 June.

13:58 CET, 27 March: Japan launches fund to promote new approaches to
emerging diseases research
Japan’s Agency for Medical Research and Development wants to look outside
traditional fields to find new approaches to dealing with COVID-19 and
other emerging infectious diseases. The agency is looking for proposals
that involve technology transfer from outside the biomedical field and
which foster multidisciplinary research. The call is divided between two
research areas. In the first, the agency aims to develop platform
technologies for mounting an emergency R&D response to any emerging
infectious disease. The second area of research is dedicated to the
discovery and development of diagnostics and therapeutics. Application
deadline: 13 April.

12:05 CET, 27 March: Portugal launches €1.5M rapid response fund against
Portugal’s Foundation for Science & Technology has set up a dedicated fund
‘Research 4 COVID-19’  to back the rapid implementation of R&D projects to
tackle the virus. The purpose is mainly to support ongoing initiatives that
are relevant to controlling COVID-19 infections and retargeting R&D
projects to respond to the needs of the National Health Service. At the
same time, the foundation said it will mobilise scientists in the country
to take part in open data projects to address the COVID-19 crisis. The
maximum funding for each project is of €30,000, with a total budget for the
fund of €1.5 million. Application deadline: 5 April.

11:54 CET, 27 March: PRACE opens up supercomputers for COVID-19 research
The EU-backed Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) has
launched a fast track call for proposals from academic and industry
researchers needing access to high performance computing resources to model
COVID-19 and its impact. The scope includes mapping the spread of the
coronavirus, tracking mutations and the evolution of the virus, developing
therapeutics and vaccines, studying infection mechanisms and analysing the
impact of the pandemic. Computing resources are available in France,
Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. PRACE says there will be a fast
track review process with applications reviewed in one week, to provide
swift feedback to applicants.

17:31 CET, 26 March: Irish Centre for Artificial intelligence offers a hand
in controlling COVID-19
CeADAR, Ireland’s National Centre for Applied Data Analytics and Machine
Intelligence, is offering its AI expertise to help companies, government
agencies, medical centres and research charities develop AI tools to help
track the virus and monitor compliance of the general public. The centre
can help organisations with large data sets to apply machine learning
techniques. Email CeADAR at: cv19 at ceadar.ie.

17:21 CET, 26 March: South Africa invests an additional R30 million in
COVID-19 research
The South African Department of Science and Innovation said it will invest
R30 million (€1.6 million) in a variety of COVID-19 research projects.
Among these projects, the Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis
is creating a model to track and slow the spread of the coronavirus, while
science minister Blade Nzimande, said the department is working with
several partners to evaluate the efficacy of repurposed drugs in treating
COVID-19 patients. The announcement of additional funding for research
comes after the decision to put South Africa on lockdown for three weeks,
starting today at midnight.

13:09 CET, 26 March: Countries link up to coordinate COVID-19 research
European Commissioner for Youth and Innovation, Mariya Gabriel and science
ministers from 14 countries linked up in a conference call on Wednesday to
exchange information on ongoing scientific projects on COVID-19. Countries
on the call included Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India,
Italy, Spain, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Portugal, Singapore and the

The 14 countries have signed a declaration to open up access to all the
information published on the coronavirus. Participants also agreed on the
urgent need to increase global production of protective equipment,
respirators and diagnostic tests. In a discussion between Australia and
Spain the two countries considered the possibility of circumventing
patents, to accelerate licensing processes and the transfer of technology,
so as to quickly manufacture certain products worldwide.

11:40 CET. 26 March: Open innovation network aims to match COVID-19
research initiatives with user needs
The open innovation network Innoget has launched a page dedicated to
COVID-19, listing technologies and research initiatives that could mitigate
the pandemic, including innovation in areas such as rapidly deployable
ventilators, technologies for discovering and developing treatments and
therapeutics, and technologies to track and slow the pandemic. These will
be disseminated to Innoget members, ranging from hospitals, research
institutes, scientists, businesses, and public administrations, which are
working to control the coronavirus.

19:40 CET, 25 March: US Biomedical authority issues call for COVID-19 R&D
The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is calling
for projects in COVID-19 diagnostic assays, screening, model development,
vaccines and advanced manufacturing. The total amount of funding that can
be awarded will be less than $750,000.
Application deadline: 30 June 2020.

19:30 CET, 25 March: COVID-19 infects EU energy and climate policies
The Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) outlines five ways in which
COVID-19 could knock EU energy and climate policies off-track in a new
article. The effects are being felt now, with the EU Emissions Trading
System already exposed, as the carbon price fell to its lowest level since
November 2018. The EU Green Deal plan needs to adapt to new circumstances,
says Máximo Miccinilli, CERRE Energy Director.

15:04 CET, 25 March: US Department of Energy wants suggestions for how it
can help beat COVID-19
The Office of Science at the US department of Energy (DOE) is asking for
suggestions on how its resources could be applied to COVID-19 research. For
example, it has supercomputing facilities that could be used for the study
of virus-host interactions, for predictive modelling on viral stability and
for resolving key viral drug targets. Research applications will be
reviewed on an ongoing basis.

13:53 CET, 25 March: US drug abuse agency calls for research proposals on
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) issued a call for research
on collecting and examining data on the risks and outcomes of COVID-19
infection in people with substance use disorders. NIDA says there is an
urgent need to understand if substance use, such as smoking tobacco or
marijuana, vaping, opioids and other drug use, is a risk factor for the
progression of COVID-19. Grants of up to $100,000 per year will be awarded
to cover direct costs. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis
starting on 31 March.

13:00 CET, 25 March: US association to fund research on impact of COVID-19
on cardiovascular health
The American Heart Association launched a call for research proposals that
will contribute to understanding, diagnosis and clinical management of
exacerbations of cardiovascular disease that are caused by COVID-19
 infections. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to selected projects.
One grant recipient will be chosen to set up a COVID-19 coordinating
centre, which will help coordinate communication between awardees,
establish collaborations where needed, and coordinate the findings of
research teams. An additional award of up $150,000 will be available to set
up the centre. Application deadline: 6 April.

12:00 CET, 25 March: Austria to invest €21M in COVID-19 industry research
The Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the
Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy,
Mobility, Innovation and Technology are together investing €21 million in
coronavirus-related business R&D. Contact the Austrian Research Promotion
Agency, FFG for details. Proposals are due on April 8, 2020, for fast
decisions, or May 11, 2020.  Click here for more information about the
emergency call.

11:37 CET, 25 March: UK research organisation launches COVID-19 research
The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy announced a COVID-19
funding call to support research to better understand and address the
outbreak. Successful projects will receive grants of up to £25,000, with
the possibility of exceptional grants in excess of £25,000. The funding
call covers new projects and the extension of existing research projects in
the area of infectious diseases. Application deadline: 17 April.

11:30 CET, 25 March: University hospital Ghent and VIB test drugs to treat
COVID-19 respiratory illness
The Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB) and University Hospital
Ghent have started a study testing Leukine, an inhaled formulation of an
approved drug, developed by the US company Partner Therapeutics, in the
treatment of patients with respiratory illness associated with COVID-19.
Debasish Roychowdhury, chief medical officer at Partner, said the drug
could help clear infection, boost the immune system and repair damaged
tissues. The drug is already in phase II and III randomized trials in other
lung infections.

10:44 CET, 25 March: Government science advisors postpone global conference
The International Network for Government Science Advice postponed its
annual meeting in Montreal to 18-21 April 2021 – seven months later than
planned. The group, a club for government scientific advisors around the
world, is also setting up an online hub to gather COVID-19 policy
developments and expects to mount an online conference about it 15-16
September this year.

10:30 CET, 25 March: US National Institutes of Health announces grants for
novel coronavirus
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is offering
grants for research to better understand COVID-19. There is a particular
interest in viral natural history, pathogenicity, transmission, projects to
develop medical countermeasures and suitable animal models for pre-clinical
testing of vaccines and therapeutics. Application deadline: February 6,

18:39 CET, 24 March: MedFIT 2020 postponed
The organisers of MedFIT 2020, the medical devices conference due to start
on 30 June in Grenoble, said the event has been postponed to 15 September.
Delegates will be able to use their pre-booked passes and exhibition stands
on the new date.

17:39 CET, 24 March: UK postpones research excellence assessment
The Research Excellence Framework, the massive four-yearly exercise by
which university departments in the UK are ranked on the quality and impact
of their research, has been put on hold. In an update released by REF it
said the submission deadline on 27 November no longer applies. A new
deadline will be set later, once the situation around COVID-19 is clearer.

17:21 CET, 24 March: German Research Foundation to fund research on impacts
of the pandemic
The German Research Foundation announces a multidisciplinary funding
opportunity to investigate the impact of epidemics and pandemics, such as
SARS-CoV-2.  Eligible researches should be based in Germany or work at a
German research institution abroad. Application deadline: September 1.

17:20 CET, 24 March: LifeArc to join in the fight against COVID-19 with an
initial £10M
LifeArc accepts applications from academics, National Health Service
employees or companies to develop COVID-19 therapeutics. Application
deadline: April 6.

16:35 CET, 24 March: European Discovery trial to evaluate four treatments
for COVID-19
A clinical trial involving 3,200 patients in eight countries in Europe with
severe COVID-19 infections, has been launched by the French national health
research agency Inserm, to test four potential treatments for the

French researchers analysed data from the scientific literature on SARS and
MERS coronaviruses and the first publications on COVID-19 from China, to
draw up the list of antiviral drugs to be tested. The four are also
classified as top priorities for clinical testing by the World Health
Organization. The trial has an adaptive design, which means any drugs that
are not effective can be dropped from the study, and can be replaced by
compounds emerging from the huge international effort that is going into
discovering new therapies.

The French arm of the study, in which 800 patients hospitalized with
COVID-19 infections will be treated, is funded by the French Ministries of
Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Health and Solidarity (MSS),
with the support of EU research projects that are funded by the Innovative
Medicines Initiative.

Study sites will also  be set up in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK, with site selection being
influenced by the course of the epidemic.

16:30 CET, 24 March: ERC lists 39 grantees doing COVID-19-related research
The European Research Council has published a list of 39 of its grantees
across Europe who are doing frontier research in virology, epidemiology and
other topics now relevant to COVID-19. Some, including Vittoria Colizza, a
computational epidemiologist at France’s national health research agency
INSERM, are also among recipients of the European Commission’s emergency
COVID-19 research grants, announced 20 March.

16:04 CET, 24 March: GÉANT conference cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis
GÉANT, the pan European network connecting 39 national research and
education establishments across Europe, announced it is cancelling its
annual Conference TNC20, due to be held in Brighton UK, June 8 - 12. While
many other conferences are being held in virtual mode, such as this week’s
BioEurope Spring, which was to have been in Paris, GÉANT has decided
against using its extensive networks for this, because of the surge in
demand for its services from institutions and schools that have been forced
to switch to remote teaching and learning.

15:46 CET, 24 March: Ireland announces fast funding of research in response
to COVID-19 outbreak
The Irish Health Research Board has launched a rapid response mechanism to
fund research that will provide evidence to inform national and global
efforts to deal with the virus outbreak. The scope of the funding call
covers medical countermeasures, health service readiness, and social and
policy countermeasures against COVID-19. The Health Research Board in
partnership with the Irish Research Council will allocate up to €200,000
funding for up to two years. Application deadline: April 6.

15:19 CET, 24 March: Money from US National Science Foundation to model
COVID-19 spread
The US National Science Foundation is offering up to €200,000 for proposals
to conduct “non-medical, non-clinical-care research” that can be used
immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of
COVID-19; to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and
prevention; and to encourage the development of processes and actions to
address this global challenge. There is no deadline. For any questions
about submissions, email: rapid-covid19 at nsf.gov.

14:30 CET, 24 March: French National Agency for Research (ANR) launches €3M
flash fund
The French National Agency for Research announced a flash COVID-19 call
with an accelerated evaluation and selection process for institutes,
organisations and companies to apply for grants to carry out work focussed
on the four priorities areas of COVID-19 research set out by the World
Health Organisation.

Meanwhile, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, ANR said the deadlines for a
number of calls for proposals related to other research have been postponed
to give scientists more time to submit their proposals.

14:15 CET, 24 March: Australian government to accelerate COVID-19
therapeutics with A$13 million
The government announces A$13 million (€7 million) for research into
coronavirus treatments. There will be an award of A$8 million for the
development of antiviral therapies and A$5 million for better treatment and
management of patients.

13:15 CET, 24 March: CEPI awards $4.9M to vaccine research consortium led
by Institut Pasteur
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has
kicked-started its eighth COVID-19 project in an agreement with a
consortium led by the Institut Pasteur. Other partners include the
University of Pittsburgh and the Austrian biotech Themis, with which the
Institut Pasteur has collaborated on developing other vaccines, including
against MERS and Lassa fever.

The consortium will receive an initial $4.9 million from CEPI, to support
preclinical testing and initial manufacture, to lay the ground for phase I
studies in human volunteers. The project will use an inactivated measles
virus to deliver COVID-19 antigens directly to the compartment of the
immune system capable of inducing a protective response.

Since putting out its first call for proposals in February, CEPI has
invested $29.2 million in COVID-19 vaccine R&D, with partners including
Curevac, Moderna and Oxford University.

12:18 CET, 24 March: UK government to invest £10.5M in 6 coronavirus
The UK government announced awards, worth £10.5 million, for six rapid
response projects to address the COVID-19 emergency. Among the six
projects, two will focus on pre-clinical and clinical vaccine trials,
including vaccine manufacturing at a million-dose scale.

Other projects aim to repurpose existing drugs to treat coronavirus
patients, develop antibodies that target the virus and identify people with
high risk infection. These awards are the first to be announced from a £20
million funded dedicated to R&D related to the coronavirus.

11:25 CET, 24 March: Novartis commits $20M to respond to COVID-19 pandemic
Novartis is to provide $20 million (€18 million) to communities feeling the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be awarded to strengthen
healthcare infrastructure, launching of digital platforms and support
community health programmes.

21:45 CET, 23 March: CDC launches $10M call to research COVID-19
transmission and diagnostics
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a call for
proposals to study transmission dynamics, host infection dynamics and
diagnostic testing capabilities of COVID-19. Eligible candidates are
educational institutions, nonprofit organisations, not for profit
organisations, state and local government, and private industry for
research and development. Non-US citizens may participate, pending the CDC
Foreign Disclosure Officer permission. Applications deadline: 25 March

19:20 CET, 23 March: New UCL study suggests need for stronger suppression
measures from UK government
A University College London (UCL) study estimated the current strategy to
slow the spread of coronavirus could lead to at least 35,000-70,000 excess
deaths over one year. Findings of the study shows stronger suppression
measures are needed and more efforts should be made to identify high-risk
groups. Lead author of the paper, Amitava Banerjee, urges the government to
be transparent about how extremely vulnerable groups are identified.

According to Banerjee, current models to predict deaths from COVID-19 did
not take into account of all people with underlying health conditions. The
UK government identified up to 1.5 million people, or 2.7% of the UK
population, as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract
coronavirus, who should stay at home to protect themselves. However, the
UCL team observed that at least 20 per cent of the UK population has one of
the underlying conditions that put them at risk for severe COVID-19

18:30 CET, 23 March: Novo Nordisk launches DKK50M call for COVID-19
research and mitigation
Denmark’s Novo Nordisk Foundation said it has budgeted DKK50 million [€6.6
million] to fund research and mitigation strategies on COVID-19. It said
the money can be used, in grants of up to DKK 5 million [€660,000] each,
for scientific research on “new treatments, techniques / technologies or
preventative measures”; initiatives to inform the general public; or
measures to help socially vulnerable groups. Application deadline: 18 June.

17:55 CET, 23 March: ETH Zurich to ‘drastically cut back’ research
ETH Zurich is reducing activities which require physical presence to “an
absolute minimum”, said ETH President Joël Mesot. The Swiss university will
switch to emergency operation, maintaining only essential activities on
campus. All research not related to COVID-19 will be cut back.

16:45 CET, 23 March: KTN asks academics and companies to join hackathon
against COVID-19
The UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), a government-funded body that
promotes links between universities and companies, is calling on
businesses, data scientists and biomedical researchers in the UK and beyond
to participate in the hackathon, “CoronaHack – AI vs. Covid-19”, to share
ideas on how to apply artificial intelligence to control and manage the
COVID-19 pandemic.

There is an urgent demand for technologies, ranging from providing
intensive care and rapid training and education of healthcare personnel, to
supporting people who are self-isolating or working from home. The KTN says
addressing these needs requires multi-disciplinary collaborations, with
artificial intelligence (AI) being one part of the answer.

15:35 CET, 23 March: UK government to invest £20M in intensive sequencing
of coronavirus genomes
The UK government announced it is to invest £20 million in the Covid-19
genomics consortium, a new genome sequencing initiative to track the
evolution of the virus by sequencing multiple samples from patients with
confirmed COVID-19 infections.  The aim is to better understand the spread
of the coronavirus and how it is mutating over time.

There is already a global effort to track how the virus is changing as it
passes from one human host to another on nextstrain.org, which has been
collecting viral genome sequences since 20 January. It now has 885
sequences from around the world, including 89 from the UK.

13:20, CET, 23 March: New academic website details COVID-19’s pressure on
EU healthcare
A new project has been launched online, sharing data and studies about how
the coronavirus is putting pressure on European healthcare systems.

Comparing the number of deaths and active cases in Italy as of 11 March,
the contributors have estimated how an Italian scenario would put pressure
on a variety of European healthcare systems. Using the Eurostat database,
key factors were considered, such as the number of hospital beds and
doctors, as well as healthcare expenditure, for each European country.

The study is funded through the European Commission’s Epipose project,
which aims to provide evidence to back the clinical and public health
response to the epidemic.

9:55, CET, 23 March: VUB engineers tackle imminent shortage of ventilation
A team of engineers at Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s FabLab Brussels have
started building and testing an artificial ventilator for critical COVID-19
patients. They started from a design by MIT, extended with sensors based on
specifications from researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the UZ
Brussel. Large-scale production is still premature. Researchers will
establish in the coming days and weeks whether the devices can actually be
used in hospitals.

17:14 CET, 21 March: Spanish Government enlists the help of robots to boost
its coronavirus testing
Raquel Yotti, director of the Carlos III Public Health Institute, confirmed
during the press conference of the Government's Coronavirus Technical
Management Committee that the government plans to acquire four robots which
could bring the daily number of tests to 80,000 (compared to 15,000-20,000
a day at the moment).

16:40 CET, 20 March: Swiss biopharmaceutical company postpones multiple
sclerosis trial
GeNeuro, a company focused on neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases,
announced it is postponing a phase II trial of its treatment for multiple
sclerosis. The trial, due to be held at the Karolinska Institutet, will be
delayed to allow the hospital to prioritise its resources for COVID-19
patients, and to assure the safety of multiple sclerosis patients.

15:45 CET, 20 March: ESOF postponed until September
EuroScience has postponed its biennial EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) from 5
July to 2 September due to the coronavirus crisis. The organiser said the
conference will take place, as planned, in Trieste, Italy. By September,
EuroScience will make teleconferencing available and amplify sessions about
public health and environment topics. ESOF is an interdisciplinary meeting
on Science and Innovation in Europe, bringing together scientists to think
about their practices and roles in society.

15:10 CET, 20 March: Spanish Antarctic science mission to return home ahead
of schedule due to coronavirus crisis
The two Antarctic bases Juan Carlos I and Gabriel de Castilla have been
closed a week ahead of schedule because of the coronavirus outbreak. The
research vessel Hespérides, in charge of mapping oceanic activity, will try
to disembark its 37 civilian and military passengers in Brazil, to fly back
to Spain. The Spanish Antarctic campaign, financed by the Ministry of
Science and Innovation, is comprised of 13 scientific projects, promoting
cooperation between public and private institutions of R&D.

15:00 CET, 20 March: UK government publishes scientific evidence supporting
its response
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), relying on expert
group guidance, has been giving advice to the UK government on how to
handle the coronavirus crisis. The joint statements and evidence cover a
wide scope of research fields, such as behavioural science, social
interventions, impact of self-isolation and insights on mass gatherings.
Imperial College London also contributed to the advice, with reports about
transmissibility and severity of COVID-19.

14:04 CET, 20 March: A map of global countermeasures compiled by Olivier
Lejeune, Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA)

12:30 CET, 20 March: LERU calls for extended deadline on health work
The League of European Research Universities (LERU), an association for
research-intensive universities, urged the European Commission to extend
deadlines on the health, demographic change and well-being Work Programme.
Funded through Horizon 2020, this call aims to promote healthy and active
ageing. Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary General of LERU, called upon Research
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel to extend the deadlines for the calls until 15
June 2020, saying “many potential beneficiaries are now highly occupied by
their clinical jobs” treating patients.

19:45 CET, 19 March: UK introduces an Emergency Coronavirus Bill to the
The Bill enables action in 5 key areas: Increasing the available health and
social care workforce; Easing the burden on frontline staff; Containing and
slowing the virus – by reducing unnecessary social contacts;  Managing the
deceased with respect and dignity – by enabling the death management system
to deal with increased demand for its services; Supporting people – by
allowing them to claim Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and by supporting
the food industry to maintain supplies.
Detail of the Bill can be found here and you can view the Bill itself here.

18:30 CET, 19 March: EU to set up €50 million medical equipment stockpile
The European Commission is to create its first ever common reserve of
emergency medical equipment, with an initial budget of €50 million, of
which €40 million is still subject budgetary approval. One or more member
states can submit bids to host stockpiles and would be in charge of
procuring the equipment.

Named the “rescEU stockpile”, the reserve would include intensive care
medical equipment such as ventilators, reusable masks, vaccines,
therapeutics, and laboratory supplies. rescEU is part of the EU Civil
Protection Mechanism, a joint effort by EU member states and six other
countries in Europe to prepare and respond to disasters.

17:00 CET, 19 March: COST open call to be postponed until October 2020
COST, an EU-funded programme that supports cross-border networking in
research and innovation, said it is postponing the deadline for an open
call for proposals from scientists, due to the coronavirus. It also
suspended from 13 March all physical meetings and short-term scientific
missions. The call deadline has been postponed to 29 October instead of 29
April, so researchers will have more time to develop their proposals.

15:00 CET, 19 March: Nature study estimates clinical severity of COVID-19
in Wuhan
A Nature Medicine paper based on publicly available data shows that, as of
29 February, the probability of dying after developing symptoms of COVID-19
in Wuhan is 1.4 per cent. The number is significantly lower than the
confirmed case fatality risk of 4.5 per cent. The study also estimates
those infected aged below 30 were 0.6 times more likely to die after
developing symptoms. Infected people above 59 years were 5.1 times more
likely to die.

11:00 CET, 19 March: Washington sets up AI library for COVID-19 researchers
The US government launched a big database of published research on
COVID-19, to “to come together as companies, governments, and scientists
and work to bring our best technologies to bear across biomedicine,
epidemiology, AI, and other sciences”. The COVID-19 Open Research Dataset
(CORD-19) is addressed to the world's artificial intelligence experts to
develop text and data mining tools for coronavirus research. The
initiatives involves Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
(CZI), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine, and it is
coordinated by Georgetown University. Kaggle, a Google subsidiary, and a
data science company, announced a reward for those with best contributions.

19:15 CET, 18 March: Synairgen announces rapid COVID-19 trial
Respiratory diseases specialist Synairgen has received expedited approval
from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for
a pilot trial of its lead product SNG001 in 100 patients who have been
hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms. SNG001, an inhaled formulation
of naturally-occurring beta interferon, is intended to activate antiviral
immune reactions in the lung. The product is being tested in COVID-19
patients after showing a positive effect in asthma and in treating
exacerbations of the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
“We have worked intensively with the relevant authorities and collaborators
to enable SNG001 to be assessed in COVID-19 patients. SNG001 has been well
tolerated in clinical trials in over 200 respiratory patients to date and
has accelerated lung function recovery in two Phase II asthma trials in
patients with a cold or flu infection,” said Richard Marsden, CEO of

19:00 CET, 18 March: Swiss biotech company puts Parkinson’s disease drug on
hold due to coronavirus
Addex Therapeutics announced today it is postponing a clinical trial in
Parkinson’s disease patients. The decision has been taken due to these
patients being one of the highest risk category for severe COVID-19, and
because the clinical sites that were due to conduct the study have been
told to not to start any new trials. “We care about the well-being of all
PD patients and do not wish to have them make the additional visits to
doctors’ offices that are required in a clinical study, putting them at
increased risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Roger Mills, chief medical
officer of Addex.

18:00 CET, 18 March: EIC extends deadline for COVID-19 €164 million call
The European Commission has announced a new deadline for the EIC
accelerator call for startups and SMEs working on treating, testing,
monitoring or other aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak. The new deadline
is 20 March at 17:00. With a budget of €164 million, this call is “bottom
up”, meaning there are no predefined thematic priorities and applicants
with Coronavirus relevant innovations will be evaluated in the same way as
other applicants. The initial deadline was 18 March.

16:45 CET, 18 March: New UCL study shows shortness of breath is key
predictor for severe COVID-19
A new systematic review and meta-analysis from University College London
could help to inform public health and clinical management strategies,
through the prioritisation of those at highest-risk of severe illness with
COVID-19. The findings show that patients presenting shortness of breath
and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the most likely to have
severe COVID-19 and admission into intensive care units.

13:50 CET, 18 March: Poland’s science funder promises leniency on
submissions; recommends against foreign travel
The National Science Centre in Poland says that annual reports for research
projects and post-doctoral fellowships must be submitted by agreed dates.

However, the funder promises leniency for those affected by coronavirus.

In addition, the Centre recommends that scientists reconsider any trips to
research labs outside of the country.

13:40 CET, 18 March: Sweden’s innovation agency vows to carry on in face of
Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, has said it will not let coronavirus
affect its core activities.

“Our calls for proposals and decisions on funding of research and
innovation proceeds as usual,” the agency says on its website.

Most of Vinnova's employees will work from home until further notice,
however, with the majority of agency meetings moving online.

13:30 CET, 18 March: Commission: airlines must reimburse or re-route
cancelled flights
The European Commission issued guidelines to airlines “to ensure EU
passenger rights are applied in a consistent manner across the EU.” It said
if an airline cancels a flight, it “must reimburse or re-route the
passengers.” If the passengers cancel their own journeys, then
reimbursement depends on the ticket type, and airlines may issue vouchers.

12:50 CET, 18 March: China says Japanese flu drug “very effective” against
Zhang Xinmin, head of the China National Center for Biotechnology
Development said in a press conference that the antiviral drug Favipiravir
was proven very effective in clinical studies conducted on 200 patients.
"In view of the safety, obvious efficacy and availability of the drug,
researchers have officially recommended favipiravir to medical teams and
suggested it be included in the treatment plan as soon as possible," he

12:45 CET, 18 March: Spain approves up to €30 million for coronavirus
A total of €30 million has been allocated by the Spanish government to
research projects on coronavirus, with €24 million going to the Carlos III
Health Institute (ISCIII). The institute will develop an urgent aid
programme for projects that aim to generate knowledge about the infection.
The National Center for Biotechnology at the Spanish National Research
Council will get €4.5 million to study the new coronavirus and work on the
development of vaccines.

18:05 CET, 17 March: Participant in Moderna's clinical trial receives first
COVID-19 vaccine dose
US vaccine company Moderna has announced the first participant has been
dosed in NIH-led Phase 1 Study using their COVID19 vaccine candidate.

This Phase 1 study will provide important data on the safety and
immunogenicity of mRNA-1273. Immunogenicity means the ability of the
vaccine to induce an immune response in participants. The open-label trial
is expected to enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over
approximately six weeks.

17:55 CET, 17 March: Commission president hopes EU funded vaccine to be
ready 'before autumn'
The European Commission has offered of up to €80 million in financial
support to the German biotech CureVac AG. “I hope that with this support we
can have a vaccine on the market perhaps before autumn," said EU commission
president Ursula von der Leyen. "This could save lives in Europe and in the
rest of the world," she said.

15:55 CET, 17 March: EIT staff banned from business travel
Most staff at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is
now working remotely until further notice. "We are working hard to ensure
our organisation remains fully operational and delivers full business
continuity during this exceptional period," the EIT said in a statement.

EIT staff are barred from business travel, events or meetings, while visits
to the EIT Headquarters in Budapest and the EIT Liaison Office are
postponed or cancelled.

"We aim to not disturb the EIT's core activities though certain
non-critical activities may need to be re-prioritised," the statement said.

15:50 CET, 17 March: Oxford team develops coronavirus mobile app for
instant contact tracing
A team of medical research and bioethics at the Oxford University has
provided European governments, including the UK, with evidence to support
the feasibility of developing a contact tracing mobile app that is instant,
could be widely deployed, and should be implemented with appropriate
ethical considerations. The team recommends that the mobile application
should form part of an integrated coronavirus control strategy that
identifies infected people and their recent person-to-person contacts using
digital technology.

15:45 CET, 17 March: Commission extends Erasmus+ deadlines
The European Commission has announced it will extend deadlines for Erasmus+
strategic partnerships and for the Erasmus charter for higher education.

The commission recommends authorities in member states to invoke force
majeure clauses that would enable them to postpone planned activities in
the EU’s exchange programme Erasmus+ and to increase costs incurred by the
outbreak. Many participants are unable to travel to other countries, while
others are unable to return home from host institutions abroad.

15:40 CET, 17 March: Scottish company announces new programme for COVID-19
Pneumagen Ltd, focused on treating infectious disease and oncology by
targeting the human glycome, today announced it has initiated a new
programme to prevent and treat coronavirus COVID-19 infections using its
first-in-class Carbohydrate Binding Modules (mCBMs), generated using its
proprietary GlycoTarge™ platform.

15:20 CET, 17 March: Public Health England orders Novacyt tests worth £1.0
Following the completion of Public Health England’s (PHE) formal evaluation
of Primerdesign COVID-19 test, as announced on 12 March 2020, the
government agency has started ordering the test. Orders are initially for
eight hospitals to provide stocks in those locations for four weeks of
planned testing. The total value of the initial purchase is approximately
£1.0 million (€1.1 million), which is the single largest order the
developing company Novacyt has received to date for its COVID-19 test.

15:00 CET, 17 March: Belgian lab achieves important milestone in the
development of a COVID-19 drug
Earlier this year, the lab of Xavier Saelens (VIB-UGent) announced the
discovery of a unique antibody that is capable of binding the virus that
causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The antibody was developed in collaboration
with two research groups in the US.

The team has now established that the antibody can neutralize a lab variant
of the virus, an important step forward in the development of a potential
antiviral drug against the new coronavirus.

14:31 CET, 17 March: Novartis joins R&D efforts with Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard
Novartis is to join collaborative R&D efforts with the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard -supported COVID-19 Therapeutics
Accelerator and a partnership with the Innovative Medicines Initiative

"Recognizing the power of working together as an industry, we are also
bringing the talent and capabilities of our industry-leading R&D
organization to two leading and important collaborative R&D initiatives,"
said CEO Vas Narasimhan.

14:26 CET, 17 March: Finnish universities start moving courses online
The University of Eastern Finland will close its campuses and moves all
teaching online, in accordance with the instructions issued by the Finnish
Government on 16 March. All facilities of the University of Eastern Finland
are closed as of today.

14:25 CET, 17 March: South Africa announces coronavirus research funding
South Africa's Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has redirected R4
million (€219,000) from some of its projects to research on COVID-19. The
Department is supporting local research that will focus on surveillance,
therapeutics and understanding the local epidemiology and natural history
of the virus, which has infected in South Africa 62 people so far.

10:30 CET, 17 March: Imperial research prompts u-turn in UK public health
Policy recommendations by researchers at Imperial College London has
prompted the UK government to rethink its strategy against the COVID-19
outbreak. On Monday evening, prime minister Boris Johnson called on UK
citizens to avoid non-essential contact and to avoid public spaces. "Now is
the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop
all unnecessary travel," Johnson said.

The Imperial report used epidemiological modelling to predict outcomes of
different combinations of containment strategies. The results show the UK
should supplement its self-isolation measures by school and university

09:35 CET, 17 March: Gabriel extends Horizon 2020 deadlines
EU commissioner for research and innovation Mariya Gabriel announced a
deadline extension for proposals. All deadlines between 17 March and 15
April are postponed by one week.  due today. More information will be soon
available on the EU's funding and tenders portal.

09:00 CET, 17 March: EIB to make extra funding available for cure and
vaccine development
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will use its InnovFin Infectious Disease
Finance Facility, to finance research on halting the spread of COVID-19,
but also on cures and vaccine development. The funding is in addition to
€40 billion in emergency funding to support the economy through the crisis.
The EIB's current pipeline of projects in the health sector amounts to
around €5 billion.

EIB president Werner Hoyer said: “We will build on what we already do for
the health sector. We are already in contact with companies and
organisations seeking to fund the search for Covid-19 vaccines and
medication. We are all living through trying times, and the EIB Group will
work without pause to ensure the EU bank contributes to the rapid
resolution of this terrible crisis.”

18:44 CET, 16 March: EU promises more funding to CureVac for coronavirus
vaccine development
The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and research
commissioner Mariya Gabriel have promised German vaccine developer CureVac
more EU funding, after media reports unveiled attempts by US president
Donald Trump to secure exclusive distribution of CureVac's vaccine against
COVID-19 which is still under development. "[It is] crucial to find [as
soon as possible] the vaccine that will help the whole world," Von der
Leyen said in a tweet.

16:35 CET, 16 March: University of Pisa waives interest fees for delayed
tuition payments
"This epidemic is causing enormous difficulties for many families and it
was imperative to do something,” said rector Paolo Mancarella. “I had made
this promise to the students in an email a few days ago and promises must
be kept."

Paolo Mancarella during the first web meeting in the history of the
University of Pisa
Paolo Mancarella during the first web meeting in the history of the
University of Pisa
16:10 CET, 16 March: Academy of Finland vows to stick to research deadlines
Research funders everywhere are changing their plans as the COVID-19
emergency grows, but Academy of Finland aims to keep all its competitions
running on track.

“The coronavirus situation will not cause any changes to our decision
schedules or call deadlines,” the Helsinki-based funder says on its website.

However, all Academy events and meetings for this Spring, which aren’t
cancelled or postponed, will move online.

16:02 CET, 16 March: China's Fosun Pharma to invest €44 million in German
company with promising coronavirus vaccine candidate
The investment is part of a €120 million deal between Fosun Pharma and
BioNTech to jointly conduct clinical trials in China. The vaccine will be
commercialised in China by Fosun, while BioNTech will retain full rights to
develop and commercialise the vaccine in the rest of the world.

15:43 CET, 16 March: Irish research agencies promise flexibility in face of
Ireland’s main research funding bodies – the Health Research Board, the
Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland – have promised
flexibility for applicants whose research projects are “unavoidably
delayed” by the coronavirus outbreak.

The funders say they will give “due consideration” to pushing back
deadlines and restructuring project deliverables.

Full statement here

14:45 CET, 16 March: ERC panels carry on reviewing proposals remotely
The European Research Council (ERC) said grant management is to carry on as
usual, but it does not exclude the possibility of "certain technical and/or
IT access constraints."

At the same time, ERC evaluators are reviewing proposals remotely. "We are
confident that this will allow us to finalise the ongoing Step 1
evaluations of Starting Grants by the end of this week," the ERC said in a
statement. "For the moment, we do not anticipate any delays with upcoming
evaluations or application deadlines."

12:12 CET, 16 March: UK universities to gradually move courses online
The University of Sussex has suspended its courses until 23 March when it
expects to be able to move lectures on to e-learning systems. The
University campus will remain open and essential services will still be

Sussex joins a growing list of UK universities that have decided to move
courses online. The London School of Economics took the measure on Thursday
and University College London on Friday. Universities of Aberdeen,
Portsmouth, Salford, Heriot-Watt, Swansea and others have followed suit.

12:00 CET, 16 March: ENISA director shares top tips for teleworking in
times of crisis
ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity gives essential advice
to secure devices from potential hackers taking advantage of the
coronavirus crisis, inviting employers to define a clear procedure to
follow in case of a security incident and to consider restricting access to
sensitive systems. In its security note, ENISA also warns that “attackers
are exploiting the situation, so look out for phishing emails and scams.”

11:51 CET, 16 March: Charles Michel convenes EU leaders to talk boosting
R&D efforts
European Council president has called for a video conference of EU leaders
to discuss ways of "boosting research" against the fast-spreading virus.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday with leaders e expected to
brainstorm on concerted actions to contain the spread of the virus, provide
sufficient medical equipment, and limit the economic fallout.

11:00 CET, 16 March: Estonia holds hackaton for moonshot ideas
Accelerate Estonia and Garage48 hosted an online hackathon, called Hack the
crisis, to get ideas from IT and innovation professionals for solutions to
the crisis situations, that can be tested in 48 hours and give Estonia the
edge for the post-crisis phase. According to Estonian Minister of Foreign
Trade and Information Technology Kaimar Karu, the 5 strongest ideas will
receive a €5000 support to develop their idea during the emergency

9:40 CET, 16 March: Main CureVac shareholder snubs Trump attempt to get
exclusive access to its vaccine R&D
The main shareholder of CureVac, a German company with a promising COVID-19
vaccine in the pipeline, said the results of its research will not be
available "only regionally", after media reports unveiled attempts by US
president Donald Trump to secure exclusive distribution of CureVac's
vaccine against COVID-19 which is still under development. Dietmar Hopp of
dievini Hopp BioTech, a holding that owns 80 per cent of CureVac shares
said "Hopefully, we will soon succeed in developing an effective vaccine
against the coronavirus. This vaccine should be available not only
regionally, but to people all over the world in solidarity to help and
protect them."

8:56 CET, 16 March: Dutch researchers discover COVID-19 antibody
Researchers from Utrecht University, Erasmus University Medical Center and
biotech company Harbor BioMed, have developed a human antibody that can
inhibit the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. While promising, the discovery
should not raise false expectations, said research leader Berend-Jan Bosch
of Utrecht University. "It is a promising first step, but it is far too
early to speculate about the potential efficacy in humans," the university
said in a statement.

8:50 CET, 16 March: G7 leaders to discuss vaccine R&D coordination today
French president Emmanual Macron announced all G7 leaders agreed to
organise an emergency video conference to coordinate research efforts on a
vaccine and treatments.

14:30 CET, 14 March: EIC Accelerator welcomes innovations to tackle
outbreak from startups and SMEs with €164 million budget
The European Commission is calling for startups and SMEs with technologies
and innovations that could help in treating, testing, monitoring or other
aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak to apply urgently to the next round of
funding from the European Innovation Council. The deadline for applications
to the EIC Accelerator is 17:00 on Wednesday 18 March (Brussels local
time). With a budget of €164 million, this call is “bottom up”, meaning
there are no predefined thematic priorities.

18:35 CET, 13 March: WHO announces COVID-19 response fund: money will go to
vaccine development, amongst other causes
The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations
and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly
contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United
Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with

“We are at a critical point in the global response to COVID-19 – we need
everyone to get involved in this massive effort to keep the world safe,”
said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

18:04 CET, 13 March: Norway adds €3.2 million to international vaccine R&D
The government of Norway is to give an additional €3.2 million to the
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for vaccine
development, in bid to help ongoing R&D efforts to contain the pandemic,.
Norway was one of the nine countries taking the initiative to create CEPI,
and now has increased its total yearly contribution to €25 million.

17:10 CET, 13 March: European Medicines Agency to offer fee waiver for
scientific advice
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will waive any fees for scientific
advice given to developers of potential therapeutics and vaccines against

With this fast-track scientific advice, the agency can give developers
prompt guidance and direction on the best methods and study designs to
generate robust information on how well a medicine or vaccine works and how
safe it is.

Scientists should contact EMA at 2019-ncov at ema.europa.eu

13 March: Canada announces results of C$27 million rapid research funding
The Canadian government has published the results for its first call on
COVID-19. Out of 227 applications, 47 projects will receive a total of
C$26.8 million.

Two thirds of the funding will be spent on projects working on diagnostics,
vaccines, therapeutics, clinical management and transmission dynamics. The
rest of the money will be spent on social and policy countermeasures,
including research on the public health response, social dynamics, and
coordination, governance and logistics.

Canada results

13 March: France picks 20 research projects in €8 million call
The Alliance for Health and Life Sciences (Aviesan) is accelerating
research on the virus and launched 20 projects which are to be hosted by
several research institutes in France, including CNRS and Institut Pasteur.
Projects will focus on diagnostics, therapeutics, epidemiology, fundamental
research and social sciences.

13 March: French president hopes effective treatments could be found in
coming weeks and months
All universities in France will shut down on Monday, French president
Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Thursday evening. Macron reassured
citizens that French scientists are working to come up quickly with
diagnostics and treatments. “I hope that in the coming weeks and months, we
will have the first treatments,” he said.

13 March: The University of Eastern Finland bans staff and students from
travelling abroad
In addition to a ban on all upcoming travel plans, the university urges all
students and staff who are returning from abroad to work and study from
home for 14 days before coming back on campus. Those who will choose to
disregard the travel ban will not get paid for the 14-day stay-at-home
period upon their return.

13 March: The Research Council of Norway launches €2.6 million emergency
call on COVID-19
The funding agency is making available NOK 30 million (2.6€ million) for
projects that focus on finding out best containment strategies and
investigate efficient patient management and public health preparedness for
the current and future outbreaks.

Manon Ress
manon <manon.ress at keionline.org>ress at gmail.com
tel.: +1571 3316879

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