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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 23 October 2014

European Union to boost Ebola research with €24.4 million

The European Commission has today announced €24.4 million from the EU budget for urgently needed Ebola research. The funding will go to five projects, ranging from a large-scale clinical trial of a potential vaccine, to testing existing and novel compounds to treat Ebola. The money from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, will be provided via a fast-track procedure in order to start work as soon as possible. The Commission is also working with industry on the further development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for Ebola and other haemorrhagic diseases within the Innovative Medicines Initiative.

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso said: "We're in a race against time on Ebola, and we must address both the emergency situation and at the same time have a long term response. I am therefore happy to announce that additional funding of €24.4 million will be made available which will speed up some of the most promising research to develop vaccines and treatments."

“With the WHO bringing the international community together in Geneva today, one of the most important messages is that we need to step up medical research on Ebola," said EU Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. "These projects enlist the best academic researchers and industry to take the fight to this deadly disease.

The funding will be provided following proposals from teams across the EU and in numerous 3rd countries, which were evaluated by an independent group of experts (see annex for chosen projects).

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and one of the discoverers of Ebola, reacted to the funding announcement: "I very much welcome the Commission's decisive action to support a series of clinical trials and studies on the Ebola virus as part of Europe's contribution to end the Ebola crisis, which has already cost the lives of so many people."

The Commission has also asked the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) to include emerging epidemics of concern to Africa, including Ebola, in its work plan. This will allow EDCTP to fund clinical trials on drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in upcoming calls.

The announcement comes as the WHO hosts a high level meeting in Geneva today, involving the international community and industry representatives. The meeting is to discuss access to near-term vaccines, the financing of vaccine and immunisation campaigns and the design, production capacity, regulation and indemnity of clinical trials.

Background

The European Union has been active from the early stages of the crisis. The European Commission alone has so far pledged €180 million of humanitarian and development aid to help the countries affected by the epidemic. This is done, for instance, by providing immediate healthcare to the affected communities and helping contain the spread of the epidemic through rapid diagnosis and disease awareness campaigns. Besides financial aid, the EU is also contributing to fight the epidemic with experts' presence on the ground and coordination for the delivery of supplies and possible evacuations.

The Commission is already funding research addressing Ebola under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and Development: on the development of new antiviral drugs, on linking up high-security laboratories, on the clinical management of patients particularly in Europe, and on solutions to ethical, administrative, regulatory and logistical bottlenecks that prevent a rapid research response.

For more information

Ebola coordination site:

http://europa.eu/newsroom/highlights/special-coverage/ebola/index_en.htm

Factsheet on EU response to Ebola:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-599_en.htm

Horizon 2020 website: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/

Contacts :

Michael Jennings (+32 2 296 33 88) Twitter: @ECSpokesScience

Monika Wcislo (+32 2 298 65 95)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

Annex – list of selected projects

Title

Coordinator

Amount

Project Scope

  • EbolaVac

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, BE

€15,153,216

Conduct clinical trials in Europe and Africa on the most advanced vaccine candidate ChAd3-EBOV. These trials will provide extended evidence on the safety and ability to elicit a protective immune response, as well as on the most appropriate vaccination schedule. These trials are the necessary step toward studies on the protective effect of the vaccine that will follow.

  • REACTION

Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM), FR

€2,575,810

Study the safety and efficacy of Favipiravir, an antiviral already licensed for influenza, first in an animal model of the disease and then on patients with Ebola virus disease. First results expected after 6 months.

  • Ebola_Tx

Prins Leopold Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde, BE

€2,892,171

Study the safety, efficacy, and practical aspects of using whole blood or plasma from survivors, as a treatment for patients with Ebola virus disease.

  • EVIDENT

Bernhard-Nocht-Institut fuer Tropenmedizin, DE

€1,759,326

Research on interactions between the Ebola virus and the host. This will provide urgently needed answers regarding the pathophysiology and transmissibility of the disease, and will help better guide the planned clinical trials on vaccines and potential treatments, as well as the management of patients with Ebola virus disease.

  • IF-EBOla

Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, FR

€1,992,770

Study the safety and efficacy of using antibodies produced in horses against Ebola, as a passive immunity treatment for patients with Ebola virus disease.

€ 24,373,293


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