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ISIDORe SCIENTIFIC STRATEGY FOR EPIDEMIC PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSIVENESS

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OVERVIEW OF ISIDORe’S SCIENTIFIC STRATEGY

The 2002-2004 SARS outbreak, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the 2013-2016 Western African Ebola virus epidemic, the 2015-2016 Zika virus epidemic and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the 2022 monkeypox multi-country outbreak: the last two decades have demonstrated that the emergence, re-emergence and globalization of infectious diseases continues to be a tangible reality. The world, including the European Union, has nonetheless shown stark vulnerability when it comes to the management of epidemic and pandemic diseases.

To improve the EU’s readiness to epidemic and pandemic threats, the ISIDORe project proposes to fund Research & Development into preparedness and responsiveness, by giving scientific communities, free-of-charge transnational access (TNA) to the whole extent of our state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge services, advanced equipment and technologies, made available through our catalogue of services . Free-of-charge access to ISIDORE’s capacities is granted through a competitive process, involving the selection of research projects submitted in response to our calls for proposals.

These calls for proposals, and their research priorities, align with consensus strategies for epidemic management and preparedness, as formulated by a strategic advisory board of ten leading European and international bodies: CEPI, the European Commission, the ECDC, EFPIA, EMA, FAO, GloPID-R, HERA, WHO and WOAH.

ISIDORe RESPONSE ACTIONS: AN ANSWER TO IMMEDIATE NEEDS IN EPIDEMIC MANAGEMENT

The ISIDORe project has already launched two main actions in response to current WHO Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC): COVID-19 and monkeypox.

To find out more about the research topics eligible for free-of-charge TNA to ISIDORe services, and to apply, please consult our current calls for proposals dedicated to SARS-CoV-2 and monkeypox virus research.

ISIDORe PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: ANTICIPATION AVOIDS ESCALATION

As mentioned above, a series of major epidemics occurred in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic. They already exposed vulnerabilities and gaps in terms of crisis management and pandemic preparedness. To try to avert future pandemics, and advance the development of the appropriate countermeasures, which are currently sorely lacking, the ISIDORe project also proposes four calls for proposals to support your research on the pathogens with epidemic potential from our list of ISIDORe Priority Preparedness Pathogens (PPPs).

List of ISIDORe Priority Preparedness Pathogens (PPPs)

Limitations apply to pathogens marked with a * – please see the dedicated subsection below

RG4 PATHOGENSRESPIRATORY PATHOGENS (excluding SARS-CoV-2)VECTOR-BORNE PATHOGENS & THEIR VECTORSOTHER PATHOGENS WITH EPIDEMIC OR PANDEMIC POTENTIAL
“Ebola virus*” – this refers to all species of the Ebolavirus genus“Zoonotic betacoronaviruses” – this refers to all members of the subgenera and species of the Betacoronavirus genus, known to cause human disease, or with a potential to, including, but not necessarily limited to, the Sarbecovirus subgenus and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related coronavirus species as well as the Merbecovirus subgenus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-related coronavirus species“Rift valley fever virus” – this refers to all members of the Rift valley fever phlebovirus species“Pathogen X” – this refers to the causative agent of Disease X that “represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease” (WHO). Any plausible candidate would be eligible, given coherent justification.
“Marburg virus” – this refers to all members of the Marburg marburgvirus species“Influenza A” – this refers to all the members of the Alphainfluenzavirus influenzae species. The members of the Beta-, Delta– and Gammainfluenzavirus species are eligible for support in projects proposing pan-influenza approaches applicable to Influenza A.“Zika virus” – this refers to all members of the Zika virus species“Orthopoxviruses” – this refers to all members of the Orthopoxvirus genus known to cause human disease, or with a potential to, including but not necessarily limited to the Variola virus and Monkeypox virus species
“Nipah virus” – this refers to all members of the Nipah henipavirus species“Y. pestis*” – this refers to all members of the Yersinia pestis species. The focus for ISIDORe’s scientific programme is pneumonic plague.“Chikungunya virus” – this refers to all members of the Chikungunya virus species“Non polio enteroviruses” – this refers to all members of the species within the Enterovirus genus (except those listed below) and known to cause non polio human disease, or with a potential to.
“Hendra virus” – this refers to all members of the Hendra henipavirus species“M. tuberculosis / bovis*” – this refers to all members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis species“West Nile virus” – this refers to all members of the West Nile virus species“Polio enteroviruses” – this refers to the serotypes (1, 2 & 3) within the Enterovirus C species known to cause polio in humans
“Lassa virus” – this refers to all members of the Lassa mammarenavirus species“C. burnetii” – this refers to all members of the Coxiella burnetii species“Dengue virus*” – this refers to all members of the Dengue virus species 
“New World arenaviruses” – this refers to species within the Mammarenavirus genus which cause viral haemorrhagic fevers, including but not necessarily limited to the members of the Guanarito, Junin, Lujo, Brazilian, Chapare and Machupo mammarenavirus species “Japanese encephalitis virus*” – this refers to all members of the Japanese encephalitis virus species 
“CCHF virus” – this refers to all members of the Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever orthonairovirus species “Yellow fever virus*” – this refers to all members of the Yellow fever virus species 
  “Tick-borne encephalitis virus” – this refers to all members of the Tick-borne encephalitis virus species 
  “Plasmodium*” – this refers to all members of the species known to cause malaria in humans: Plasmodium i) falciparumii) vivaxiii) malariaeiv) ovale curtisi, v) ovale wallikeri and vi) knowlesi  
  “B. burgdorferi*” – this refers to all members of the Borellia burgdorferi species 
Table 1: List of ISIDORe Priority Preparedness Pathogens (PPPs).

Research scope

Researchers are invited to submit proposals aligned with at least one of the following sections:

  1. Surveillance & epidemic management
  2. Natural history of infectious diseases / Deciphering & understanding pathogens’ biology, host-pathogen interactions and host responses to infection
  3. Diagnostics
  4. Therapeutics
  5. Vaccines
  6. Social sciences & epidemiology
  7. Vector biology & vector control

Proposals focusing on research that would improve preparedness to a range of pathogens are especially encouraged.

For example:

  • Development of multi-pathogen and/or flexible diagnostic strategies
  • Development of broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics
  • Development of versatile vaccine platforms

Limitations on some topics do, however, apply (see below) due to the existence of countermeasures, as well as current dedicated funding channels or support programmes, for some of the ISIDORe PPPs.

SECTIONZaire ebolavirusY. pestisDengue virusJapanese encephalitis & yellow fever virusesM. tuberculosis/bovisPlasmodiumB. burgdorferiLeishmania
Surveillance, transmission & epidemic risk managementNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSEXCLUDEDNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSEXCLUDEDEXCLUDEDEXCLUDEDEXCLUDED
Natural history / Host-pathogen interactionsNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS
DiagnosticsNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSProjects eligible if focused on improving diagnostics of pneumonic plagueNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSEXCLUDEDEXCLUDEDProjects eligible if focused on improving diagnosticsEXCLUDED
TherapeuticsNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSEXCLUDEDNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSProjects eligible if focused on approaches overcoming resistanceProjects eligible if focused on approaches overcoming resistanceEXCLUDEDProjects eligible if focused on better and/or cheaper, safer therapeutics
VaccinesProjects eligible if focused on cross-protective vaccinesProjects eligible if focused on improving vaccine against pneumonic plagueProjects eligible if addressing antibody-dependent enhancement phenomenonProjects eligible if focused on cross-protective vaccinesEXCLUDEDProjects eligible if focused on improving current vaccine (efficacy + safety)EXCLUDEDEXCLUDED
Social sciencesNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSEXCLUDEDNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSEXCLUDEDEXCLUDEDEXCLUDEDEXCLUDED
Vector biology & vector control  NO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS NO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONSNO SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS
Table 2: Limitations to ISIDORe PPPs.

Preparedness calls for proposals

To apply for free of charge TNA to ISIDORe’s services, please consult our preparedness calls for proposals: