22 Oct 2020

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

This blog has been archived. A new one has been set up at this link.




French president Emmanual Macron announced all G7 leaders agreed to organise an emergency video conference to coordinate research efforts on a vaccine and treatments. 


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 provided.

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. 


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.


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 WHO. 

“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.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will waive any fees for scientific advice given to developers of potential therapeutics and vaccines against COVID-19. 

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 [email protected]


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

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.


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.


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.

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.


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