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Spain to take part, through ISCIII, in European project to research variants of SARS-CoV-2 and the development of vaccines

Monday 22 February 2021

The aim of the project, entitled HERA Incubator: anticipating together the threat of COVID-19 variants, is to promote actions to detect, analyse and evaluate variants; speed up the development and approval of vaccines, and facilitate the performance of clinical trials with prototypes of vaccines that include the potential influence of variants of the virus.

As part of this last objective, the HERA Incubator includes the VACCELERATE project, in which Spain is participating through the Carlos III Health Institute (Spanish acronym: ISCIII), which will receive funding of almost 1 million euros (around 8% of the total of 12 million euros). VACCELERATE will include the participation of 26 institutions from 16 EU Member States, plus the collaboration of five associate countries.

VACCELERATE seeks to create and push through a platform that facilitates the performance of clinical trials in the field of infectious diseases, with the priority aim of focusing its work on COVID-19 and in the search for vaccines that may be useful for current and potentially new variants of the virus. The ISCIII, through the National Microbiology Centre (Spanish acronym: CNM), coordinates Spanish participation in VACCELERATE, heading up a consortium that will also form part of the new clinical trial platform - SCReN - in turn headed up by La Paz Hospital in Madrid, which will coordinate one of the work packages - and two groups of the current Spanish Network for Research into Infectious Pathologies (Spanish acronym: REIPI) - the A Coruña University Hospital and the Virgen Macarena University Hospital.

The VACCELERATE project, aside from the aforesaid 12 million euros in initial financing, will also be allocated a further 15 million euros to finance potential vaccination candidates in phase 2/3 of the research, and to facilitate the incorporation of public and private finding.

The HERA Incubator initiative includes participation from the scientific community, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and EU public authorities. It will be developed in coordination with the WHO and other global vaccine and COVID-19 initiatives and will be a foundation for the creation of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) - a permanent structure for the research and handling of bio-health and public health emergencies.

Non official translation