Eight projects that will have a direct effect on the course of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and public health will soon be starting. This is the first result of the commission of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to ZonMw to finance critical research with a direct impact on the current corona pandemic.

Top priority, quick action needed

Subjects have been inventoried and prioritised by an expert panel. Eight topics have been given top priority because they may have a direct impact on public health. Specific researchers were then asked to submit a research proposal on these topics. This (very) short application procedure was chosen because it was necessary to act quickly. Subsidies were granted to eight studies. A total budget of 5.5 million euro has been made available for this.

Funded projects

The projects that received an incidental subsidy cover the following subjects:

  1. 1Investigation into the course of the disease, long-term prognosis, cross-reactivity, re-infection, and the course of the immune response over time in relation to prognosis. To this end, a cohort of persons who have recovered from COVID-19 (RECoVERED study) will be followed.
  2. Research into carrier status, burden of disease and transmission from and to children (CoKids study).
  3. Research in the field of hospital epidemiology to support infection prevention measures (COCON study)
  4. A pharmacotherapeutic trial with anakinra in COVID-19 patients in intensive care (ANACOR-IC).
  5. Mapping virus evolution, spreading and transmission via sequencing to predict transmission routes.
  6. Social science research into the impact of social isolation on vulnerable populations and what support vulnerable groups need.
  7. Trial of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine treatment in patients admitted for moderate to severe COVID-19 (ARCHAIC study).
  8. Drug development: studies into the safety and efficacy of antibodies to the coronavirus.

Almost all of the projects involve partnerships between several university medical centres, universities and other research institutions. It is important that they can start as soon as possible. More detailed project information can be found at https://www.zonmw.nl/en/about-zonmw/coronavirus/research-on-corona-and-covid-19/

Action and research programme COVID-19 and other grant possibilities

In addition to the incidental subsidies already provided, there are more granting possibilities. In order to meet the high demand for solutions and answers, ZonMw will soon start the research programme COVID-19 on behalf of VWS and together with NWO. This programme is aimed at preventing or reducing the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, combating the pandemic and the social dynamics resulting from the pandemic. In this programme we make use of various granting mechanisms, including more open calls for proposals. These calls will appear on the ZonMw subsidy calendar. More information will follow in April.

Besides these initiatives, a scheme aimed at small projects with practical solutions for material shortages and other practical problems in and outside hospitals had also recently been started. In addition, the SET scheme was expanded. Both schemes have since been closed to new applications. The Virus Outbreak Data Access Network (VODAN) implementation network was also launched.

Important: Open access publications, especially at this time

Researchers are obliged to make all publications arising from scientific research that has been subsidised in whole or in part within this scheme immediately accessible through Open Access (without embargo) with an open license. In this way, we share new knowledge, that can contribute to improving public health regarding COVID-19, as quickly as possible. In addition, research results produced within this programme should be shared in line with the Joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.

More information about ZonMw and the coronavirus

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