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News > Switzerland

EU Launches Bio-Defense Plan Against COVID-19 Strains

  • Women wearing protective face masks near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Jan. 26, 2021.

    Women wearing protective face masks near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Jan. 26, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 February 2021

To better manage possible future pandemics, the European Union has created a "Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority."

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday stepped up its efforts to fight COVID-19 variants by bringing together various stakeholders to develop new vaccines.


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The European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) project will gather researchers, biotech companies, manufacturers, and public authorities in the EU and globally to detect new coronavirus variants, provide incentives to develop new and adapted vaccines, speed up the approval process for these vaccines, and ensure the scaling up of manufacturing capacities.

"New variants of the virus are emerging fast and we must adapt our response even faster," the European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen said and explained that the HERA project will also serve as a blueprint for the EU's long-term preparedness for health emergencies.

Thanks to the HERA, Europe is "tackling parallel or subsequent series of pandemics deriving from the variants," said EC Vice President Margaritis Schinas, adding that it is pooling resources to ensure solidarity across the EU and the world.

The EU will spend US$90 million on detecting, analyzing, and assessing virus variants by supporting genomic sequencing in its member states, and a further US$181 million on stepping up research and data exchange on variants.

Mechanisms have also been devised to improve clinical trials and ramp up the production of COVID-19 vaccines.

The actions are in preparation for HERA, which will be a permanent structure for risk modeling, global surveillance, technology transfers, supply chain risk mapping, flexible manufacturing, and vaccine and medicine research and development.

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