EU to give 8 research projects €216m to aid in Ebola vaccine

16 Jan 2015

While the Ebola crisis in west Africa continues, the European Commission (EC) is backing eight research projects to the tune of €216m to help develop a test and vaccine for the disease.

Ebola remains an ever-present issue for the affected countries, with world health bodies desperately searching for a potential vaccine to halt the deadliest spread of the disease since it was first discovered in humans.

While the focus of the eight projects – including an entry from the Grameen Foundation in Ireland – will be on developing a vaccine and testing, another project is working in Guinea to monitor the situation on the ground to improve preparedness and planning, and operational effectiveness of future interventions in case of similar outbreaks or pandemics.

Aiming to end Ebola once and for all

The eight projects will be run under the new Ebola+ programme of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and funded jointly by the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry, contributing €117m and €99m, respectively.

So far, the EC has already mobilised €24.4m from Horizon 2020, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation, that will fund five projects ranging from large-scale clinical trials to tests of existing and new Ebola compound treatments.

“There is no vaccine or treatment against Ebola as yet, so we must urgently step up our efforts in Ebola research,” said Carlos Moedas, the EC’s commissioner for research, science and innovation.

“With this funding from Horizon 2020 and our industry partners, we are speeding up the development of an Ebola vaccine, as well as rapid diagnostic tests to aid heroic health workers. These are the tools we need to defeat Ebola once and for all.”

Ebola testing image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic