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ISCIII launches ‘Covid-19 Fund’ for studies to improve short-term management of Coronavirus

The Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), dependent on the Ministry of Science and Innovation, has launched the call for the ‘COVID-19 Fund’ to finance research projects on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, the Coronavirus. This call will have 24 million Euros, as approved in the Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, last March 17th, of extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of the new coronavirus. The aim is to contribute to improving the public health response and to develop new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic tools. These must be projects that can be implemented immediately in the National Health System (SNS). They will also prioritize concrete results applicable to the current situation.

The areas of research that will be eligible for funding are the development of rapid virological diagnosis techniques for Covid-19, development of vaccines, analysis of their effectiveness and applicability, projects on the clinical, biological and molecular characterisation of the disease, as well as ideas for developing innovative therapies, new antiviral, antiseptic and disinfectant molecules against SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, this call also seeks studies on antiviral resistance and on the effectiveness of non-pharmacological, prophylactic and therapeutic interventions, the characterization of the virus (genetic variation and antigen), the management of the immune response and the virus-host interaction.

On the other hand, the Finnova Foundation, based in Brussels, will advise those interested in this call as it has experts in the presentation of proposals and in addition, we are already invested in several projects related to COVID-19.

Artificial intelligence and integrated mass data analysis
The call will also finance projects on epidemiological surveillance and molecular study of Covid-19, with analysis of mortality, morbidity and lethality incidence; study of environmental and social factors of the spread, risk factors and population dynamics of the infection. Projects using artificial intelligence tools and the massive analysis of integrated data for the epidemiological control of the disease are also eligible for this economic fund, as well as research on the socio-economic impact of the disease: use of primary care resources, general hospital resources and critical care resources.

A specific committee to evaluate all proposals
The evaluation of the projects will be carried out by the Scientific and Technical Committee for the Evaluation of Expressions of Interest for Research Projects in Covid-19 and SARS-COV-2 (CTE-Covid-19), whose coordinator is Cristóbal Belda, ISCIII’s Assistant Director General for Research Evaluation and Promotion and responsible for Strategic Action in Health (SEA), and eight other members. According to the ministry, the Committee will assist in the approach and possible modifications to those presenting projects. Proposals will be submitted by email to covid19@isciii.es, using the template available for download from the ISCIII website.

According to the Ministry of Health, in addition to the 24 million euros, ISCIII has also received another 1.2 million euros, which it will devote in part to its own research projects.