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Relationship between infections and non-communicable diseases


Increasing evidence suggests that several infections might influence the development of many non-communicable diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer, post-covid-19 condition[[]]), or that NCD may be influenced by concurrent presence in the same individual of one (or more) infections. On the other hand, NCDs might represent risk factors for IDs.

The proposals are expected to elucidate and provide a better understanding of causative links between infections and non-communicable diseases onsets, and/or the impact of infections on the exacerbation of existing NCDs or vice versa, in children and/or adults. The analysis of genetics, immune status, immune or inflammatory responses, microbiome, lifestyle and/or other relevant factors (e.g. differences in age, sex/gender, vaccination status, ethnicity) should be integrated to get information for prevention, early diagnosis, risk factors, and to better understand causative links as well as the progression of those non-communicable diseases.

In determining the connection between one or multiple concomitant infection(s) and the development of non-communicable disease(s), the proposals might address any infection including those with pandemic potential (viral, bacterial, or fungal) with non-communicable diseases of major importance. Research on cancer is excluded as it will be covered by the Mission on Cancer.

Special attention should be given to vulnerable individuals, such as those with known existing preconditions.

Preclinical research, observational studies and/or clinical studies can be considered for this topic. Proposals could include patient follow-up to identify conditions that may appear only after a patient has recovered from the infectious disease. Those proposals including clinical evaluation should give a sound feasibility assessment, provide details of the methodology, including an appropriate patient selection and realistic recruitment plans, justified by available publications and/or preliminary results.

The applicants are encouraged to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) tools that enable advanced quality data analysis and for assessing and predicting the risk of developing a disease and/or the risk of disease progression/severity where relevant.

Projects funded under this topic that focus on COVID-19 and post COVID-19 condition (also known as long-COVID) are strongly encouraged to collaborate and build links with (one of) the relevant EU-funded projects, such as ORCHESTRA[[]]. They should also pay special attention and link to the newly established European COVID-19 data sharing platform[[]].

Applicants envisaging to include clinical studies should provide details of their clinical studies in the dedicated annex using the template provided in the submission system. See definition of clinical studies in the introduction to this work programme part.