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The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for better preparedness to (re-)emerging infectious threats. Any development of new diagnostic tools, or medical countermeasures, be they drugs or vaccines, requires High Containment Laboratories (HCL).Only in these critical infrastructures can high-risk pathogens be handled safely and securely. Since its creation in 2017, ERINHA AISBL has brought together HCLs across Europe.
As part of its mission to reinforce health security, ERINHA will contribute to several major new European-funded projects focused, developing medical countermeasures against epidemic-prone viruses, as well as on reinforcing the capacities and coordination of European HCLs. That’s why we’re thrilled to present the new projects we’ll be involved in from 2024!
HEALTH WORK PROGRAMME
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a tick-borne disease, is currently the most widespread of the haemorrhagic fevers. It is endemic in certain regions of Africa, some Middle Eastern and Asian countries, and in Europe is spreading beyond the Balkans into countries that have hitherto been free of the disease, including Spain. To improve preparedness for CCHF viral outbreaks among high-risk populations, ERINHA will be supporting the coordination of “CCHFVACIM”, a project that aims to bring the most efficacious CCHFV vaccine candidates and immunotherapies to clinical trial in humans.
ERINHA will also be heavily involved in the discovery of broad‑spectrum antivirals against high-consequence pathogens in the upcoming years by contributing to two other new projects.
The APPEAL (Antivirus Pandemic Preparedness EuropeAn pLatform) project focuses on identifying effective antiviral treatments using advanced techniques, including machine learning and High-Density Cell Arrays, to discover and validate broad-spectrum antivirals against pathogens with epidemic potential. The project will operate using two main approaches: an expedited one for rapid drug repurposing and efficacy testing, and a comprehensive strategy for sustainable pandemic preparedness.
The ERINHA coordinated NAVIPP (New AntiVirals for Infections with Pandemic Potential) project is committed to enhancing the European Union’s readiness and response capabilities against viral threats by establishing an international platform for antiviral drug development targeting pandemic-prone pathogens. The consortium is planning a multi-faceted strategic R&D and clinical roadmap for identifying, optimizing, investigating and validating broad-spectrum antivirals against epidemic- or pandemic‑prone viruses, including those prioritised by the WHO. The project will benefit from an exceptional access to a massive compound library, as well as extensive capacities in high-throughput screening, high containment and clinical research thanks to ERINHA’s members.
RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES WORK PROGRAMME
The new ERINHA-led INTERCEPTOR project (INTERnational Cooperation of high containment research infrastructures: from Epidemic Preparedness TO Response) brings together HCLs worldwide. It will focus on harmonising access to HCLs, training, and bio-risk management. Thus, it will help facilitate the access to these state-of-the-art facilities and promote the establishment of a sustainable global network of HCLs for strengthening global preparedness to highly pathogenic agents with epidemic potential.
The European Viral Outbreak Research Alliance (EVORA) project brings together three RIs/networks (EVA, ERINHA-ESFRI and ELIXIR-ESFRI) with unique and complementary expertise in bio-banking, high containment facilities and data management solutions, respectively, under a single concerted interoperable framework with a common and long-term perspective. EVORA aims to strengthen EU capacity for concerted preparedness and response to viral diseases, unify RI operations to achieve optimal RI responsiveness, sustainability and worldwide competitiveness and address specific regulatory, ethical, and security challenges related to emerging pathogens.
Finally, the OSCARS project (Open Science Clusters’ Action for Research and Society) brings together ESFRI and other world-class research infrastructures organised in five « Science Clusters »: ENVRIFAIR (environmental science), EOSC-Life (life science), ESCAPE (astronomy and particle physics), PaNOSC (neutron and light source science) and SSHOC (social science and humanities). OSCARS aims to translate the achievements of these five cluster projects into lasting interdisciplinary services and working practices, as well as promoting the involvement of a broad range of research communities in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).