Infectious Disease Threats
There is no doubt that the current COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in modern times. But the span of two recent decades with outbreaks of SARS, MERS, Ebola virus epidemic, Zika virus epidemic, as well as the recent Monkeypox virus Public Health Emergency of International Concern, has starkly demonstrated that the emergence, re-emergence and globalization of infectious diseases are no longer abstract long-term predictions from the scientific community; they are a tangible reality, and have been for quite some time.
New Approach to Pandemic Preparedness Research
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed critical gaps in European and global preparedness and research response. The lack of sufficient preparedness to infectious disease threats at the EU and global levels made our Public Health systems, economies and societies vulnerable. The Integrated Services for Infectious Disease Outbreak Research (ISIDORe) initiative proposes a new approach to arm Europe with the necessary research tools, services and resources for rapid research response to current threats as well as to the next epidemic-prone pathogen outbreaks before they go global, and therefore increase resilience in the face of epidemics in Europe and globally.
ISIDORe: All the Services to Accelerate Research on Epidemic-Prone Pathogens
ISIDORe (Integrated Services for Infectious Disease Outbreak Research) funded through the EU-HERA incubator call, is a unique initiative entirely dedicated to free-of-charge access to its 154 members’ state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge services, equipment and technologies to advance research on epidemic-prone pathogens.
The interdisciplinary project coordinated by European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA) brings together all key European life sciences research infrastructures and networks, as well as those in the social sciences. From structural biology to clinical trials ISIDORe provides an integrated portfolio of cutting-edge research services and resources divided into nine large categories: analytical services; cell models; in-vivo models; immuno-monitoring and profiling; support for diagnostic and therapeutic development; support for vaccine development; clinical samples; regulatory advice, trial preparation and access to European clinical trials; social sciences and epidemiology.
ISIDORe calls for proposals
The provision of research services to researchers is organised through calls for proposals and a selection process.
The calls for proposals, and their research priorities, align with consensus strategies for epidemic management and preparedness, as formulated by a strategic advisory board of ten leading European and international bodies: CEPI, the European Commission, the ECDC, EFPIA, EMA, FAO, GloPID-R, HERA, WHO and WOAH.
Following its rapid research response calls for proposals dedicated to SARS-CoV-2 and its variants (still ongoing, APPLY NOW) and Monkeypox virus (deadline expired), ISIDORe has launched its preparedness programme calls for proposals for free of charge access to the consortium facilities and services.
To prevent future pandemics, and advance the development of the appropriate medical countermeasures, the ISIDORe preparedness programme includes a list of priority preparedness pathogens clustered in four calls for proposals to support research on the epidemic-prone pathogens such as:
- Risk-Group 4 pathogens (Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Nipah virus, Hendra virus, Lassa virus, “New world arenaviruses”, CCHF virus);
- Respiratory Pathogens (zoonotic betacoronaviruses, Influenza A, Y. Pestis, M. Tuberculosis/bovis, C. burnetii);
- Vector-borne Pathogens (Rift valley fever virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, Dengue virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, Yellow fever virus, Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Plasmodium, B. burgdorferi, Leishmania); and
- Other pathogens with epidemic potential (pathogen X, Orthopoxviruses, Non polio enteroviruses, Polio enteroviruses).
The ISIDORe calls are multidisciplinary and open to all scientists (EU and international) from both academia and the private sector.
About the ISIDORe coordinator: ERINHA
European Research infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA) provides access to high-containment research services to all scientists with a relevant research project.
Within ISIDORe, it offers a wide variety of research models, both cellular and animal, and associated analyses, ranging from traditional virology to more sophisticated and high-throughput approaches. Services include standard analytical capabilities such as viral titer measurements and neutralisation assays, together with high-content bioimaging, NGS and much more.
ERINHA facilities offer a large range of animal models to support preclinical research: from small rodent models (mice, hamsters) to non-human primates. Certain pathogens may only infect specific hosts. The development of new animal models is thus also considered, but only in the context of a broad 3R (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) policy that aims to minimise the use of animals.
More Information about ISIDORe
More information about ISIDORe, its calls for proposals and how to apply can be found on the ISIDORe website: https://isidore-project.eu/
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Top image by ERINHA/ISIDORe