The need for vaccine studies continues to be high, as many questions remain unanswered about the safety, efficacy and possibly necessary adaptation of vaccines to emerging virus variants. In order to coordinate these studies, the European Union is funding the creation of the new VACCELERATE vaccine research network with a total of EUR 12 million for three years. To date, 26 partner institutions from 21 European countries are participating in the network. The consortium is led by the infectious disease specialist Prof. Oliver Cornely who coordinates the DZIF clinical trial unit at the University Hospital Cologne.
In 2020, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) set up a BMBF-supported Europe-wide platform to create a registry of clinical trials sites with the expertise to test vaccines against the new coronavirus. The newly established pan-European VACCELERATE research network will build on this platform. VACCELERATE will plan and conduct vaccine trials and act as a central point of contact for all stakeholders – from health authorities to pharmaceutical vaccine developers.
VACCELERATE Coordinator Prof. Cornely is convinced of the strategy of the new network: “The plan is to design and coordinate vaccine studies in all EU countries and EU-associated countries under one strategic-scientific umbrella.” An important step in setting up the network is capacity mapping of clinical trial centres and laboratory facilities to identify suitable sites for vaccine studies in Europe. Cornely adds: “VACCELERATE will be the pandemic preparedness network that will establish a structure for the quick and effective development and testing of vaccine candidates across Europe, also beyond Corona.”