The European Commission announced on Friday that it will be boosting urgently needed research into coronavirus with €10 million from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.
It has launched an emergency request for expressions of interest for research projects “that will advance our understanding of the novel coronavirus epidemic, contribute to more efficient clinical management of patients infected with the virus, as well as public health preparedness and response.”
The funding is expected to support two to four research projects. The European Commission said that it is using all means at its disposal in order to enable research work to start as soon as possible.
Applicants have until 12 February, i.e. only ten days, to respond (compared to three months normally) and grant agreements should also be signed very quickly.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said:
“We need to see a multifaceted, whole-of-government response to the Coronavirus and research is an essential part of this. We need to know more about the virus to better target our prevention measures and to ensure better care for our citizens – this is precisely the aim of the Horizon 2020 emergency research funding announced today.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, stated that “We are working to mitigate the consequences of a potential larger spread of the Coronavirus outbreak in the EU. Thanks to emergency research funding from Horizon 2020, we will know more about the disease.
“I am proud that following the progress made during the last years, our supercomputer centres stand ready to help researchers in their work to develop new treatment and vaccines. We will be able to protect the public better, and to deal more effectively with the current and any future outbreaks,” she concluded.
The move comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
304 deaths have been recorded in China so far from the virus outbreak, while the first Coronavirus death outside China was reported on Saturday.