Proposals should address one or more of the following subtopics:
- TB: To investigate biomarkers or new diagnostic tests for early screening of TB risk groups for TB infection and identification of antimicrobial drug resistance.
- HIV: To investigate the susceptibility to HIV and/or disease progression rate after infection, including various HIV subtypes and/or transmission clusters, and/or the development of adverse effects during antiretroviral therapy and concomitant diseases (comorbidities and/or co-infections, including with tuberculosis).
- HCV: To evaluate the genetic determinants of the virus and the host, and comorbid conditions that can be involved in disease progression and create the basis for the development of future HCV treatment strategies.
In performing the research agenda to address one (or more) of the listed subtopics, the applicants might make use of already established European cohort networks or establish new collaborations thus widening their geographical scope and include HIV, HCV and/or TB mono or co-infected individuals and perform retrospective or prospective studies. Proposed actions should take into consideration vulnerable groups and target populations, which may include, but not limited to: ageing subjects, injecting drug users and other social risk groups. Sex and gender differences should be taken into account where relevant.
Due to the specific challenge of this topic, in addition to the minimum number of participants set out in the General Annexes, proposals shall include at least one participant from the Russian Federation. Also, the duration of the proposed action cannot exceed 24 months (until end of 2020), with a foreseen start of the action no later than 1 January 2019. For more information, interested entities in the Russian Federation shall consult the website of the Russian NCP for Health at http://www.h2020-health.ru/ru/competition-ru-eu, as well as the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation http://www.fcpir.ru/participation_in_program/contests/list_of_contests/, where the corresponding Russian call will be published.
The Commission considers that a proposal requesting an EU contribution between EUR 2 to 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control) and WHO-Europe (World Health Organisation) report high number of cases for HIV and TB infections (both in incidence and prevalence) in the European regions and in recent years the epidemic situation has deteriorated in eastern Europe[[http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/HIV-AIDS-surveillance-Europe-2015.pdf]],[[http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/tuberculosis-surveillance-monitoring-Europe-2015.pdf]].
For TB, in particular diagnosis and treatment of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) poses a major challenge. In the east of Europe there is still high burden of TB and HIV and their comorbid forms. Additionally, a significant proportion of the infected patients are also affected by co-infections and comorbidities that may adversely affect their prognosis, which is a global challenge in healthcare and in particular refers to TB/HIV cases.
Several issues in the current epidemiological situation are still to be addressed to reduce the cases of new infections and deaths, including investigation of reasons underlying fast spread of M-DR-TB and HIV/AIDS in some regions, development of rapid tools for an accurate detection of TB infections and management of HIV and TB drug resistance. Adverse effects of treatments and the requirement for strict adherence to antiretroviral treatment further complicate management of these diseases.
Furthermore, in the WHO European Region an estimated 15 million people live with hepatitis C (2.0% of adults) with two-thirds of infected persons in the Region living in eastern Europe and central Asia[[http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/hepatitis/data-and-statistics]]. Also for HCV there are many challenges, including the need to analyse genetically determined factors affecting disease progression in HCV infected patients (with mono-infection or HIV-HCV co-infection).
Given the dynamics of the epidemics and the need to contain them, there is a commitment from the European Union and from the Russian Federation to support joint research and further strengthen the collaboration between research and healthcare centres to address the issues outlined above.
- Improvement of coordination and integration between European and Russian clinical and research centres dealing with HIV, TB and/or HCV infected patients.
- Produce scientific evidence leading in the long-term to the reduction of the burden of these infection diseases.
- Produce scientific evidence and contribute to the optimisation (and personalisation) of diagnosis, treatments and improvement of quality of life of patients affected by HCV, HIV and/or TB infections (mono or co-infections) and comorbidities.
- Contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure Healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, the WHO end TB strategy[[http://www.who.int/tb/strategy/end-tb/en/]] the WHO global health sector strategy on HIV[[http://www.who.int/hiv/strategy2016-2021/ghss-hiv/en/]] , and the WHO global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis[[http://www.who.int/hepatitis/strategy2016-2021/ghss-hep/en/]].