The Carlos III Health Institute launches the COVID-19 Fund to finance projects that improve knowledge of the virus and disease management in the short term

The Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), under 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, COVID-19. This Fund will have 24 million euros, as approved in Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of March 17, on extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of the new coronavirus.

Within this framework, ISCIII has opened a mechanism for receiving proposals and research projects on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, which contribute to improving the public health response and developing new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic tools. .

The extraordinary financing mechanism of the COVID-19 Fund joins the various projects, services and supports that the ISCIII is developing and offering to the scientific and health systems since the beginning of the epidemic, mainly from the national Microbiology centers ( CNM) and Epidemiology (CNE). Apart from 24 million euros, the ISCIII has also received another 1.2 million euros, under the Royal Decree-Law, which it will dedicate in part to its own research projects.

The complete resolution on the COVID-19 Fund, with all the technical information on the presentation of projects and the characteristics of the process, can be found at this link. Proposals will be submitted by email to the address, using the template that can be downloaded at this link from the Carlos III Health Institute website: the template that can be downloaded at this link. On this website and / or at the ISCIII electronic headquarters, all the information produced throughout the processing of this call will be published, which includes channels to minimize the procedures for submitting, evaluating and granting applications, given the urgency of the situation.

The proposals submitted for evaluation must be adapted to the emergency situation caused by the pandemic, so they must allow immediate implementation and start-up in the National Health System (SNS), with the achievement of results as a priority. concrete, early and applicable to the current situation. The deadline for the presentation of proposals begins on March 19 and will remain open until the termination of the COVID-19 Fund, which will be communicated in the sources previously indicated.

Research areas

The initiatives presented, which can start from projects that are already underway or be new initiatives, should focus on the following areas:

  • Development of rapid virological diagnostic techniques for COVID-19, transferable to the industrial field and applicable to healthcare, with priority orientation towards the diagnosis of early stages of infection and the management of severe cases to optimize stratification and healthcare .
  • Clinical, biological and molecular characterization of the disease, with analysis of clinical stages, prognostic stratification and possible complications.
  • Development of innovative therapies, new antiviral, antiseptic and disinfectant molecules against SARS-CoV-2; antiviral resistance and effectiveness studies of non-pharmacological, prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.
  • Characterization of SARS-CoV-2, knowledge of the genetic and antigenic variation of the virus, and management of the immune response and virus-host interaction.
  • Vaccine development, analysis of its efficacy and applicability.
  • Epidemiological surveillance and molecular study of COVID-19, with analysis of incidence of mortality, morbidity and lethality; study of environmental and social factors of the spread, risk factors and population dynamics of the infection.
  • Use of artificial intelligence tools and massive analysis of integrated data aimed at epidemiological control of COVID-19.
  • Socio-economic impact of the disease: use of primary care resources, general hospital resources, and critical care resources.

Research projects must respect the fundamental principles established in the current wording of the Declaration of Helsinki, promulgated by the World Medical Association, in the Council of Europe Convention on human rights and biomedicine, in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on the human genome and human rights, as well as meeting the requirements established in Spanish legislation in the field of biomedical research, the protection of personal data and bioethics.

Evaluating committee

The selection process of proposals will have the participation of a Scientific-Technical Committee for the Evaluation of Expressions of Interest for Research Projects in COVID19 and SARS-COV-2 (CTE-COVID19), a support body for the ISCIII Directorate created at such effect to coordinate the granting of aid.

This committee will be in contact with the proponents, will help in the presentation of projects and will recommend possible approaches, integrations or modifications that can facilitate the success of the proposals. In addition, it will propose to the ISCIII Directorate the financing of initiatives and will follow up on the proposals finally approved, with the ability to make recommendations on their development.

The committee coordinator will be Cristóbal Belda, deputy director general for Evaluation and Research Promotion of the ISCIII and responsible for the Strategic Action in Health (AES), the main biomedical and health financing tool in Spain. The committee will consist of six members, which will fall to the following people: Manuel Cuenca, deputy director general of Applied Services, Training and Research of the ISCIII; Marina Pollán director of the National Center for Epidemiology (CNE-ISCIII); Jesús Oteo, director of the National Center for Microbiology (CNM-ISCIII); Luis Enjuanes, researcher at the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB) at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC); Asunción Moreno, scientist from the Spanish Network for Research on Infectious Diseases (REIPI); Cristina Prat, researcher at the Consortium for Biomedical Research in the Respiratory Diseases Network (CIBERES), and César Hernández, from the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS). The Secretariat of the Committee falls to Pilar Gayoso, from the Sub-Directorate General for Evaluation and Promotion of Research, who will act with voice but without vote.

Once the proposals submitted have been informed by the committee, the ISCIII Directorate, in accordance with the provisions of article 38.2 of Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, will resolve individually and motivated the direct granting of aid from the COVID Fund- 19.

The application of the COVID-19 Fund hopes to have an impact that will contribute to improving the treatment of the disease in the current pandemic; improve the diagnosis and clinical management of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, and facilitate the design, development, and implementation of public health measures to effectively respond to the current epidemic and possible future epidemics.

Source of new