Press Release – EU commits to tackling COVID-19 with new project

Antwerp, Belgium – 11 March, 2020

The University of Antwerp has launched Rapid European COVID-19 Emergency Research response (RECOVER), in collaboration with 9 international partners. The launch comes in response to the impact of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in Europe. This project was selected for funding by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 research framework and builds on many years of investment by the European Commission in clinical research preparedness for epidemic response.

RECOVER will address the most urgent questions for patient and public health by conducting medical research to address key knowledge gaps, such as those about best approaches to prevent further spread of the disease and about the virus interactions with the human host. In this way, RECOVER will provide scientific evidence that can be used by clinical, public health and policy decision-makers about how best to protect health and save lives. These efforts will complement ongoing research in China and other parts of the world.

RECOVER officially launched its activities on 10 March in Amsterdam in a meeting attended by the international partners, European Commission, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). RECOVER’s consortium agreed on immediate next steps which include:

  • A survey to understand EU citizens’ experience of COVID-19 and its impacts;
  • A study to understand household transmission and the impact of interventions to mitigate transmission;
  • A study to better understand if and how children may contribute to the spread of the virus;
  • Recommendations to the EU on protecting the health of those at the frontline of tackling the spread of the outbreak.

The results of all RECOVER studies will immediately inform the European response to COVID-19.

“We are very grateful that the European Union is supporting initiatives that tackle this new outbreak. We are looking forward to working with our European and Chinese partners to broaden the understanding of this disease and thereby save lives.”
Herman Goossens, Coordinator of RECOVER and Professor at the University of Antwerp. 

“RECOVER is a unique project, integrating fundamental biological knowledge with social and clinical research, harnessing the power of science to understand and tackle COVID-19.”
Sylvie van der Werf, Scientific Coordinator of RECOVER and Director of the Virology department at Institut Pasteur.

RECOVER originates from the EU-funded PREPARE project (Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-) emerging Epidemics) and will inform future research response efforts to further strengthen Europe’s preparedness for emerging infectious disease outbreaks.

Contact person:

Herman Goossens, MD, PhD
Coordinator of the RECOVER and PREPARE Projects
University of Antwerp – Laboratory of Medical Microbiology
Universiteitsplein 1
B-2610 Antwerp – Belgium
+32 475 327344

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