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Pandemic preparedness and response: Understanding vaccine induced-immunity


As shown by the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines are a critical component needed to bring infectious disease pandemics under control. The availability of effective vaccines that are able to induce a strong and durable immune response are critical to respond to health threats caused by infectious disease epidemics or pandemics. A proactive approach to understanding the factors that affect vaccine durability and strength is necessary to ensure development of effective vaccines for future infectious disease outbreaks.

Proposals should study vaccine-induced immunity in the general population and vulnerable groups. Proposals should look both at the magnitude and breadth of initial immune responses and the duration of immunity after vaccination with different vaccine types (mRNA, vector, inactivated, subunit, attenuated,…). Proposals should assess how sex (e.g. male vs female, pre- vs postmenopausal), age (childhood vs adolescent vs elderly) and/or lifestyle (e.g. obesity, drug addiction, diet, sport) affect the immune response. Proposals may also examine genetic and other molecular factors that may influence immune response in humans. Proposals should pursue a multi-omics approach in order to foster a deep understanding of vaccine induced immunity.

Proposals should identify correlates of protection that can be used to develop vaccines against viruses meeting the criteria for pathogens with high pandemic potential as identified by HERA[[]].

Proposals should also assess how pre-existing conditions or chronic infections influence the immune response.

Proposals should aim to improve the global vaccine research and development pipeline for emerging and re-emerging viral infections, and to strengthen the current leading role of the EU in vaccine development, and therefore contributing to the work of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

This topic requires the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

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.