This topic aims at supporting activities that are enabling or contributing to the development of large scale, COVID-19 cohorts and networks worldwide, including beyond Europe’s borders, forging links with European initiatives as a global response to the pandemic. To that end, proposals under this topic should aim at delivering results that are directed, tailored towards and contributing to all of the following expected outcomes:
- In the short-term, contribution to a better understanding of the global circulation of the current and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and their characteristics, delivering recommendations on the best strategies to control viral spread, as well as on optimized clinical management and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
- In the short-term, contribution to the evaluation of the impact of the variants of concern on the different vaccines and vaccination strategies and information on best vaccine and treatment options.
- In the short/medium/long-term, monitoring the emergence of new variants of concern, elucidating the impact of different variants on transmissibility and severity of COVID-19 disease, including long-term post-infection sequelae (long COVID).
- In the long term, establishment of regional and internationally linked strategic cohorts that can be pivoted rapidly to research on emerging infectious diseases.
- In the long-term, contribution to regional and international pandemic preparedness networks to rapidly address pandemics in the future on a global scale.
Proposals submitted under this expression of interest are expected to build on existing large-scale, multi-centre, regional or international cohorts worldwide and/or establish new ones linked to those. These cohorts should aim to rapidly advance the knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants of concern, with the aim of developing evidence-based strategic and robust recommendations for the effective control and prevention of COVID-19 infection. The regional or international cohort(s) should allow to rapidly and consistently provide estimations on the occurrence and spread of emerging variants of concern in different parts of the world. They should contribute to a better understanding of their transmissibility, virulence and pathogenicity.
Risk and protective factors to infection, and clinical manifestation including long-term post-infection sequelae (long COVID) should be investigated for different variants and different (risk) groups (e.g. children, elderly) to potentially identify biomarkers for vulnerable populations and inform treatment options.
The cohort(s) should also contribute to elucidating the effectiveness of the various first-generation vaccines and the risk of reinfection in previously infected individuals in the different cohort populations, including risk groups, to inform on optimal vaccine strategies. The effectiveness of second-generation or adjusted vaccines should be considered as soon as they become available.
Clinical studies, carried out within the cohort(s), might also help to inform best treatment options and vaccine strategies.
06 May 2021