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EU allocates €150m for research on coronavirus variants

Bloc also launching international clinical trial network for vaccine development

The EU has allocated an additional €150 million to Covid-19 R&D, as part of a wider campaign to increase the availability of vaccines against the disease.

The European Commission announced on 17 February that €30m would be provided to “several projects running under Horizon 2020”, the EU’s 2014-20 R&D programme, and that an additional €120m will be devoted to Covid-19 under the 2021-27 R&D programme, Horizon Europe.

It also said that the planned European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority would join up research from the EU and beyond on emerging variants of the virus that causes Covid-19, to inform the development of treatments. Research will focus on questions such as risk factors for transmission and whether existing vaccines protect against new variants.

In addition, the Commission announced the launch of an international clinical trial network for Covid-19 vaccines—Vaccelerate—which encompasses 16 EU countries and five non-EU countries including Israel and Switzerland. The scope of the networked trials will expand to include children as participants, it said.