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Research and innovation
News article18 September 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Commission supports international clinical research network to treat COVID-19

An ambitious new EU-funded research initiative, EU-RESPONSE, will establish a clinical research network to treat COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases. The Commission announced today that it will support the project with €15.7 million.

The funds are mobilised from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as part of the Commission’s €1 billion pledge for coronavirus research and innovation, announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in May.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

EU-RESPONSE is a major step towards pan-European clinical trials that not only give us the scale we need to rapidly assess potential treatments, but can also adapt rapidly as new facts and ideas emerge. This EU clinical trials network will serve Europe now to address COVID-19 and help us prepare for future threats by offering speed, scale and solidarity.

The EU-RESPONSE consortium, led by the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), brings together 21 partners with world-class research capabilities from 13 EU countries, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, to build an European network for adaptive platform trials (APTs) for COVID-19 and emerging infectious diseases. ATPs have an innovative randomised controlled trial design, which enables various therapies for a disease to be studied simultaneously.

EU-RESPONSE builds on the DisCoVeRy trial originally initiated in France at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in coordination with the WHO Solidarity trial. EU-RESPONSE will initially focus on the evaluation of repurposed medicines to treat COVID-19 in multi-centric clinical trials across Europe, further including new experimental treatments as new knowledge emerges. The geographical expansion and evolution of research activities will form the basis of a European network of APTs for COVID-19 that could also deal with other emerging infectious diseases in future. It will test and develop safe and effective medicines for the European market and beyond.

A key feature of EU-RESPONSE is the joint coordination mechanism that it shares with another EU-funded project – RECOVER (Rapid European SARS-CoV-2 Emergency Research response) to ensure complementarity, harmonization and synergies with other European and international initiatives in the field. Through this, it will make the best use of Europe’s capacity, avoid fragmentation and prioritise studies that generate sufficient data to determine whether the tested therapies are beneficial or not. These two projects, working in close coordination, will deliver a comprehensive development strategy for COVID-19 platforms in Europe, providing a streamlined access for new therapies to be tested, and offer support for the setting up of platform trials. It will also inform possible strategies to implement clinical testing of candidate vaccines.

EU-RESPONSE is an important addition to the portfolio of EU-funded research and innovation actions and complements the public health policy and activities that the Commission is coordinating with the Member States.


EU-RESPONSE stands for “EUropean RESearch and Preparedness netwOrk for pandemics and emerging iNfectious diseaSEs”

The partners in the EU-RESPONSE consortium are: Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (FR) ; Inserm Transfer (FR); European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN-ERIC) ; Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NO), Oslo University Hospital (NO); Università degli Studi di Verona (IT); Centro Hospitalar Universitário Sao Joao (PT); Universita Pavla Josefa Safarika V Kosiciach (SK); Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE); University of Szeged (HU); University College Cork (IE); Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (CH); Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine (TR); Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (LU); Arbeitsgemeinschaft medikamentöse Tumortherapie gemeinnutzige GmbH (AT); Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris (FR) ; Hospices Civils de Lyon (FR); Servicio Madrileno De Salud (ES); National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (GR); Medical University of Lodz (PL); Charles University (CZ).

More information

Factsheet on RECOVER-EU


Publication date
18 September 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation