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European Vaccine Research and Development Infrastructure

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TRANSVAC2 (European Vaccine Research and Development Infrastructure)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-04-30

The overall objective of TRANSVAC2 is to support innovation for both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine development. Additionally, the goal is to optimise the existing knowledge and expertise gained during the development of existing human and animal vaccines by supporting the translational gap in biomedical research, and by establishing mutually-beneficial cooperation between public vaccine R&D institutions, vaccine initiatives and networks, related infrastructures, SME’s, and partners in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to achieve this, TRANSVAC2 aims to reach the following specific objectives:
- Develop a sustainable infrastructure accelerating vaccine R&D - construct an efficient and coordinated research and innovation environment by integrating key infrastructures and related initiatives from Europe and beyond, focused around the sustainable vaccine infrastructure:
-Stimulate technological innovation within Europe by fostering research by providing scientific and technical services to the vaccine R&D community:
-Strengthen and disseminate European vaccine expertise by offering classroom and laboratory training in vaccinology
-Perform joint research activities that continuously enhance and improve the services offered by the infrastructure.
-Maximise engagement of the European vaccine industry, including large pharmaceutical companies and SMEs
-Disseminate scientific information and communicate TRANSVAC2’s activities to the scientific community and general public:
-Take an active role in policy development, providing evidence-based recommendations to legislators and regulatory bodies.
Within the first 3 years of the project, several activities have been initiated and successfully completed:
- Up to now, 8 calls for trans-national access have been completed. In total 69 applications were submitted (including 7 resubmissions) by 37 research institutions and 15 SMEs from 12 countries within Europe and 4 overseas. 72 services were granted to 33 projects submitted by SMEs and research institutions from 11 countries within Europe and 1 from Argentina and 1 from the US.
- 7 calls for training modules in vaccinology at leading European centres that can be combined to create customised international courses on vaccine R&D have been completed. Within these calls, 11 trainings were already conducted gathering in total 157 awarded applicants. Further 3 trainings that were announced in the first training round for about 58 participants will be conducted in upcoming months. The second round of training has been launched in June 2020.
- Some of the research activities (JRA) helping to improve services offered in TRANSVAC2 have been already successfully completed. Data generated in these tasks have been presented at international scientific meetings and published in peer reviewed journals. Additionally, all SOPs developed within the project shall be available for TRANSVAC partners and general public.
- A Board of Stakeholders (BoS) comprising representatives of policy and decision makers, industry associations and European infrastructures was established in August 2017. A first BoS workshop organized in June 2018 in Brussels was focused on identifying the gaps in existing European vaccine roadmaps (TRANSVAC and IPROVE). This meeting initated a process of updating TRANSVAC roadmap that will be a basis of development of a strategic business plan for a sustainable vaccine R&D infrastructure in Europe. This objective will be further explored by a recently granted EC-project TRANSAVC-DS.
- Multiple promotional actions with the use of different communication tools were implemented to disseminate scientific information and communicate TRANSVAC2’s activities to the scientific community and general public:
o The project was presented (posters, presentations) and other promotional materials (flyers) were distributed at more than 40 scientific meetings (congresses, conferences and workshops).
o The outreach of the project was enhanced by project and partners’ websites as well as social media (Twitter, LinkedIn).
o a promotional movie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sadifFegks) and a story of TRANSVAC2 as a successful project (http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?&artid=49836&caller=FP) are available to the general public.
- the TRANSVAC team has initiated and maintained a number of collaborations with other infrastructures and projects, to cooperate in dissemination activities. These include EC, IMI- funded projects, Research Infrastructures and Vaccine related initiatives and alliances. Consortium is constantly looking for new opportunities for collaboration.
The TRANSVAC2 consortium is strongly committed to offering high-value scientific, technical and support services that will keep pace with evolving technologies and procedures, and that will be aligned with the demands of the vaccine development community.
The enormous burden exerted by the current COVID-19 pandemic has increased the pressure for the development of appropriate tools for disease control/management (prevention and treatment). The recent call for applications for TRANSVAC services for the development of COVID-19 vaccines was a respond to the current urgency for tools to combat the pandemic. New services have been offered (animal models for COVID-19 developed by TRANSVAC partners and regulatory support offered by EATRIS and EVI) and a fast track review process was put in place for this call. From the 14 projects submitted, 8 were selected for funding.

The European Commission (EC) has recently awarded a proposal submitted by a consortium comprised of 25 institutions out of which 22 are current TRANSAVC2 partners. The new project, TRANSVAC-DS (Design study for a European vaccine infrastructure) aims to explore and prepare the further establishment of a sustainable vaccine infrastructure in Europe, and it further builds on the success and lessons learned of the TRANSVAC1 and TRANSVAC2 projects and proposes the establishment of a truly sustainable European vaccine infrastructure.
oses the establishment of a truly sustainable European vaccine infrastructure.
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