21 February 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented social and economic disruption across the globe. Long-term, sustained, and coordinated efforts are needed to develop and implement a wide range of preventive and reactive interventions to limit the impact of infectious diseases. This includes both clinical interventions as well as public health interventions. Ideally, these inventions act as complementary components of a coherent, coordinated strategy against infectious diseases, developed and implemented with inputs from a wide range of academic disciplines, governmental organisations and industry. Ecraid aims to provide for the platform to support such a coordinated approach in Europe, focusing on the efficient and effective development and implementation of clinical interventions against infectious diseases.
On the 1st of January 2022, the Ecraid foundation was formerly launched. Ecraid advances clinical research in the field of infectious disease with the development of a pan-European clinical research network. It is the first network of its kind in Europe. MERMAIDS, SOS-COVID and REMAP-CAP, the clinical studies that have been included as part of the HORIZON2020 funded RECOVER project on COVID-19 are embedded into Ecraid. This will allow them to continue their work and gather information for future pandemics.
“Having an existing network is fundamental to avoid fragmentation. Nowadays, clinical research on infectious diseases is fragmented and often done on an ad-hoc project basis. As a consequence, a lot of valuable information and time are being lost. A sustainable and European-wide clinical research infrastructure is urgently needed”. Herman Goossens, coordinator of RECOVER.
The RECOVER primary care observational study, SOS-COVID, started in March 2020. Patients were followed up to determine the following outcomes: duration of illness, non-productive days, impacts on daily life and complications, like pneumonia and hospitalisation. With a full description of the illness spectrum and outcomes of COVID-19, the study aims to determine the risk factors of getting COVID-19 and for a complicated course of disease. In total, 885 patients with a respiratory tract infection were enrolled in the study via their general practitioner in 9 different countries. Analysis of the study data is ongoing and will continue within Ecraid.
About MERMAIDS ARI:
Since its reactivation at the beginning of the pandemic, the MERMAIDS ARI study has included 783 patients across 38 study sites. This study is looking at acute (recent onset) respiratory (nose, throat and chest) infections, one of the most common infectious diseases across Europe. The study involves a comparison between adults who visit their GP due to respiratory infections and adults who need hospitalisation for similar infections. This will allow us to study why some people develop more severe symptoms. The results of this study can help us to improve the prevention, treatment and care of these infections and hopefully reduce the number of severe cases. To enable broad geographical coverage across Europe, increased and targeted biological sampling, inclusion of children and enrichment of the cohort, the MERMAIDS ARI 2.0 study was set up. The study reached its targeted enrolment of 300 patients, including 169 COVID-19 patients, in 7 European countries on 14 September 2021, and collected more than 4,000 samples.
The REMAP-CAP study was designed to adapt and speed up research, especially in the event of a pandemic. Due to the continued global spread of COVID-19, the REMAP-CAP pandemic modus was activated in March 2020 and participating sites from all over the world started enrolling and randomising (suspected) COVID-19 patients. The study is currently active in 15 countries in Europe, and a total of 215 sites are participating. REMAP-CAP enrolled 6,842 patients suspected or proven to have COVID-19 in Europe alone. Globally, the trial has enrolled over 10,815 patients proven or suspected to have COVID-19. The patients in Europe have led to more than 13,000 randomisations over the existing study domains.