EuCARE: European Cohorts of Patients and Schools to Advance Response to Epidemics

Funded by the EC under HORIZON-HLTH-2021-CORONA-01

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Coordinated by Euresist Network, 22 primary universities, hospitals and ICT research centres are collaborating to provide robust, data driven evidence to deal with SARS-CoV-2 variants and COVID-19 epidemics. 

How do SARS-COV-2 variants, coupled with other factors, influence the clinical course of COVID-19? Is there any vaccine or test escape related to variants? Do variants influence, and how, the spread in the school setting? Can we define a better testing and containment strategy  in the school setting? What is the impact of containment measures, including schools closure, on pupils and teachers?

With the support of strong immuno-virological and artificial intelligence components, the study will take advantage of large hospital patients, vaccinated healthcare workers and schools’ cohorts in Europe, Kenya, Mexico, Russia and Vietnam to find an answer to urgent issues related to science and society.

Objectives

 

1.    to study viral variants in relation to their capacity to escape control by available vaccines; 
2.    to study viral variants in relation to their capacity to escape diagnosis by available tests; 
3.    to study the host immune response to different variants, in terms of both antibody and cellular immunity; and to evaluate possible cross-immunisation with other coronaviruses;
4.    to assess the role of the different viral variants in response to treatment interventions and in disease progression, including long-term outcome, and to identify predictors of patients at higher risk.
5.    to determine the prevalence of viral variants, their attack rates and clusters in schools compared with the general population; 
6.    to compare the efficacy of different screening methods and of different preventive measures in schools with respect to new viral variants; in particular, an emerging pooled saliva screening method will be evaluated;
7.    to evaluate the psychological and learning-loss effect of the school closure during the pandemic.

Methodology

EuCARE gathers clinical cohorts from 11 strategic countries across Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia and central America. Overall, the hospitals estimate to be able to enrol in the prospective cohort study >2600 patients and >1600 HCW from very diverse countries, with wide coverage of different vaccines, different health care systems, different viral variants distributions and different treatment protocols.

Cohorts following-up patients with symptoms attributable to PASC will be involved from Europe, Georgia, UK and Russia with an estimated enrolment of > 1400 patients.

For its focus on schools, EuCARE builds on the ongoing school screening programme in Germany and in Mexico, adding to these newly enrolled school in Portugal and Italy, spanning all school grades. Overall, at least 35 schools and 40 kindergartens are involved for more than 26.000 students across all ages, from very diverse areas in terms of urbanisation, socioeconomic status, containment protocols and use of  PPEs.

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Participants

1. EuResist Network GEIE (Coordinator) - IT
2. Klinikum der Universität   zu Koeln (DE)
3. University College London (UK)
4. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (DE)
5. Universita degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata (IT)
6. Karolinska Institutet (SE)
7. Università degli studi di Siena (IT)
8. IBM Israel - Science and Technology ltd (IL)
9. Azienda Socio-Sanitaria Territoriale Santi Paolo e Carlo (IT)
10. Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive Lazzaro Spallanzani (IT)
11. Viesoji Istaiga Vilniaus Universiteto Ligonine Santaros Klinikos (LT)
12. Istituto Europeo Di Oncologia Srl (IT)
13. Universidade Nova De Lisboa (PT)
14. Imperial College Of Science Technology And Medicine (UK)
15. Infectious Diseases, Aids And Clinical Immunology Research Center (GEORGIA)
16. Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (DE)
17. Centro Hospitalar De Lisboa Ocidental (PT)
18. Organizing Bureau of European School  Student Unions (BE)

- KEMRI Alupe Hospital (Kenya)

- WFO Neema Hospital (Kenya)

- Bach Mai Hospital Hanoi (Vietnam)

-Juan Graham Casasus Regional Hospital (Mexico)

- St. Petersburg Phthisiopulmonology Research Institute (Russia)

Work Packages Structure

WP1 data and cohorts infrastructure of the project, including the legal, ethical and IT frameworks

WP2 on wet-lab activities as a service for the cohort WPs and to virological and immunological studies

WP3 runs the cohort study on patients, including long COVID patients, and Health Care Workers

WP4 runs the other cohort study on schools and kindergartens 

WP5 applies artificial intelligence techniques on the data produced by previous WPs.

WP6 implements consortium level dissemination and communication activities and networking for long-term sustainability of the project’s cohorts and network 

WP7 is for the management, project evaluation and quality assurance activities.

WP8 ensures compliance with ethics requirements set by the ethics project review.

The EuCARE Kick-off meeting has been held in Rome on November 11th and 12th and has seen the participation of representatives of WHO.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme