Published:

Two Irish research projects secure EU funding to tackle COVID-19

The European Commission is allocating €48.5 million for urgently needed research on COVID-19 vaccine development, treatment and diagnostics.

Ireland and EU flags divided diagonally

This action is part of the coordinated EU response to the public health threat of COVID-19. A total of 18 projects involving 140 research teams from across the EU have been selected. Researchers on these projects are already working rapidly to understand the behaviour of the epidemic through epidemiology and modelling, and develop rapid diagnostics, as well as treatments and vaccines.

Two Irish projects secured just over €1million.

An Irish SME, Hibergene Diagnostics, will lead a project called HG nCoV19 test to develop a rapid molecular diagnostic test. This project will work on an all-island basis with partners from Queens University Belfast, China and Italy. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) is a partner on I-MOVE-COVID-19.  This is a multidisciplinary European network for research, prevention and control of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Epiconcept, France is the coordinator with 20 partners from across Europe. The funding coming to Ireland is just over €1 million.

The 18 new projects funded will work on:

  • Development of new vaccines. The research will focus on developing a prophylactic vaccine and a therapeutic vaccine, which will be used for prevention and treatment respectively.
  • Rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests. Increased efforts will concentrate on enabling front-line health workers to make the diagnosis more quickly and more accurately, which will in turn reduce the risk of further spread of the virus.
  • New treatments, in which a dual approach will be adopted. Firstly, accelerating the development of new treatments currently in the pipeline (including therapeutic peptides, monoclonal antibodies and broad-spectrum antivirals), and secondly, screening and identifying molecules that could work against the virus, using advanced modelling and computing techniques.
  • Improving epidemiology and public health, including our preparedness and response to outbreaks. These projects will help develop better monitoring systems in order to effectively prevent and control the spread of the virus, as well as contribute to the assessment of social dynamics.

Further details are available to download from https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/new-research-actions-coronavirus_en