BE READY Newsletter Editorial 2023

23 Nov 2023 in

Since the early 1900s, there have been at least eleven serious viral outbreaks, caused by pandemic pathogens which span five virus families. Examples are Monkeypox virus, Ebola and the resurgence of polio. Epidemics can also be vector-borne, e.g. Zika or Chikungunya. In addition, many other new viruses have been emerging in recent decades driven by population growth, climate change, human behaviour, increased zoonotic transmission from animals and habitat loss. These diseases are spreading faster with increased global travel.

The COVID-19 pandemic uncovered the challenges that European health care systems face in preventing, detecting, combatting and managing outbreaks of infectious diseases in a coordinated manner. It also illustrated the global lack of preparedness and insufficient availability of medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Further, it showed how unilateral research initiatives may lead to a fragmented research landscape. At the same time, the relentless work of the research community that has led to availability of several COVID-19 vaccines in record time provides evidence of the critical importance of collaborative research and innovation to respond rapidly to emerging health threats.

In this context, the EU-funded project “Building a European strategic Research and Innovation Area in Direct Synergy with EU and International Initiatives for Pandemic Preparedness” (BE READY) aims on laying the preparatory groundwork for the foundation of the future European partnership for pandemic preparedness which includes the preparation of an innovative and visionary Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) for Pandemic Preparedness. Within the SRIA, two main axes are developed. The first one will focus on Research and Health whereas the second one will take into account Health&Bio-Tech Research and Innovation.

The objective of the future Partnership BE READY will focus on the acceleration of knowledge on emerging infectious diseases, the development of countermeasures such as preventive measures, vaccines, diagnostics, new or repurposed therapeutics, support evidence-based data for decisions in public health management. The partnership will also promote EU wide infrastructures, such as EU warm base clinical trial networks, pan European cohorts and improved data collection, sharing and harmonization across sectors.