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LS RIs Respond to COVID-19

To support the global effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Life Sciences Research Infrastructures (LS RIs) are prioritising COVID-19 research, as detailed in the actions below. The benefits of using established Research Infrastructures are clear: they are ready and able to provide expert advice and resources to meet a variety of research needs. Although in-person visits to facilities may be restricted, many infrastructure services are still available via remote access and, where possible, the cost of access will be minimised or waived.

This video presents how 9 of the European Life Science Research Infrastructures can be used to advance research on coronavirus and other diseases.

Accelerate your COVID-19 research with LS RIs - Here's how!

  • Translational medicine: Fast access to key services & facilities

    EATRIS

    EATRIS' mission is to accelerate the translation of promising scientific discoveries into benefits for patients. We focus our main activities on bridging the innovation gap between the lab and the clinic and we offer services and expertise to increase chances of research to successfully reach patients.


    The EATRIS infrastructure’s resources are therefore highly relevant for the research community in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and include the following expertise and services:

    • 2019-nCoV challenge studies in Non-Human Primates (NHPs) under BSL3+
    • Advanced preclinical models including NHPs, with advanced analytical readouts including molecular and structural imaging (including real-time imaging of lung lesions), available under BSL 3 conditions
    • Immunomonitoring and virological assays
    • High throughput screening supporting diagnostics, genotyping, phenotyping and drug repurposing
    • Clinical isolation units
    • Expertise on pharmacology and protein-drug interaction modelling
    • Regulatory support, including: Scientific advice procedure with the European Medicines Agency or national authorities

    These services are available for any researcher or research team (academic or industrial) that is developing a potential therapy, vaccine or tool for use against the current COVID-19 pandemic, with secured funding. We can also put in touch with the right partners if you are preparing a funding proposal.


    Research requests will be handled via a single point of contact, with a targeted turnaround time of 48 hours or less.

  • Samples, clinical data from biobanks & resources on standards

    BBMRI

    The Research Infrastructure for biobanking and biomolecular resources has a network of over 600 biobanks across Europe (now easy to find with our new COVID-19 sample filter), which can provide key services to researchers, such as:

    • Efficient and high-quality storage of samples in clinical and research settings;
    • Samples from healthy individuals, to be used as control (collected 2-3 months before outbreak in each country);
    • Guidance and standards for targeted identification, collection and conservation of important samples.
  • COVID-19 Fast Response Service for medical RIs

    BBMRI / EATRIS / ECRIN

    COVID-19 Fast Response Service is a coordinated and accelerated procedure for researchers to access the academic facilities, services and resources of the three medical research infrastructures: the European Research Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS), the European Clinical Research Infrastructure network (ECRIN) and the European research infrastructure for biobanking (BBMRI), working together under the umbrella of the Alliance of Medical Research Infrastructures (AMRI).


    Services include:

    • Biomaterials and associated clinical data (the full list of available resources is available here.)
    • 2019-nCoV challenge studies in NHPs under BSL3+
    • Advanced preclinical models including NHPs, with advanced analytical readouts including molecular and structural imaging (including real time imaging of lung lesions), available under BSL 3 conditions
    • Immunomonitoring and virological assays
    • High throughput screening supporting diagnostics, genotyping, phenotyping and drug repurposing
    • Clinical isolation units
    • Expertise in pharmacology and protein-drug interaction modelling
    • Regulatory support, including: Scientific advice procedure with the European Medicines Agency or national authorities; Advice on ethical, regulatory and legal issues in EU member states for clinical trials; Ethics approval submissions; initiation and monitoring of recruiting sites; Clinical trial support; Certified Data centres for the management of clinical trial data
  • Fast-track access to instruments for COVID-19 research

    CERIC-ERIC

    The mission of CERIC-ERIC, the Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium, is to enable the delivery of innovative solutions to societal challenges. In response to the current crisis, CERIC-ERIC has set up rapid, remote access for COVID-19 research at its facilities in four countries, offering NMR, cryo-EM, synchrotron and other characterisation services. The free, open access follows a light evaluation performed by the facility, with the service performed within a month from the submission of the proposal. Examples of potential applications in life science research relating to COVID-19 include:

    • Addressing basic virus function in relation to immune response (NMR).
    • Studying basic virus function, structural characterization of basic virus molecular components (XRD1, XRD2, SAXS).
    • Studying interactions of viral proteins and cellular (surface) proteins (such as fragments of ACE2) (NMR).
    • Studying the interaction of the membrane with the target protein and drugs (SAXS).
    • Studying the possible target protein-drug interaction, especially if crystals are not available (SISSI, SAXS).
    • Addressing challenges and opportunities related to potential treatments utilizing RNA oligonucleotides (NMR).
    • Testing the response of immune cells to drug candidates (SISSI).
    • Structural characterization of drug candidates or other related solid-state compounds (MCX, XRD1, XRD2).
  • Clinical trials

    ECRIN

    Clinical research is a critical step for the development and optimisation of solutions for treatment, prevention and diagnostics of COVID. ECRIN provides support to the planning and design of multinational clinical studies, and operational services to the management of the trial. This includes clinical trials on any intervention (medicines, medical devices, procedural intervention), on diagnostics, or on prevention (from behavioural measures through vaccines), and observational studies.


    In the COVID-19 context, ECRIN has established, with its national partners, a COVID-19 taskforce whose mission is to:

    • Review and digest the scientific literature on COVID clinical trials
    • Develop a metadata repository for COVID trials making all the non-sensitive COVID-19 trial data accessible
    • Develop a database on the regulatory, ethical and data protection fast track approvals across all European countries
    • Ensure preparedness of its national clinical trial unit (CTU) partners for COVID trials
    • Combine and coordinate national initiatives to promote multinational rather than national trials, including through connection with national funders, sponsors investigators and CTUs
    • Develop partnership with national and pan-European investigation networks on infectious diseases and intensive care
    • Outreach to investigators, sponsors, patients, policymakers, funders, and citizens
    • Initiate international cooperation and outreach, including with WHO and through CRIGH and other initiatives.
  • Life science data support for COVID-19 research

    ELIXIR

    ELIXIR Nodes provide researchers and consortia working on SARS-CoV-2 with a range of services such as:

    • Data Services and Resources including EMBL-EBI Pathogen Portal, a COVID-19 Beacon and ELIXIR’s recommended interoperability resources
    • Analysis Tools, Compute Services and other resources. Our infrastructure is contributing to the open global sharing of Galaxy tools and workflows, and offering relevant training courses, a tools registry and access to compute facilities
    • A record of related ELIXIR publications on SARS-CoV-2.
  • High containment facilities for pre-clinical research on SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19

    ERINHA

    Research carried out in the ERINHA infrastructure is intended to contribute to the overarching mission of protecting human health by increasing Europe’s preparedness for and capability to respond to an existing high consequence infectious disease or a newly emerged infectious disease threat. Therefore, ERINHA member capacities are highly involved in SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 research activities.


    Antiviral discovery, drug repurposing and vaccine development are critical to stop pandemics and limit the spread of COVID-19.


    European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA) provides access to its members – leading European high containment facilities (BSL3 and BSL4) - as well as expertise and project management services to advance research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19.


    Our high containment research capacities include:


    In vitro research capacity:

    • standard virologic assays (e.g. ELISA, PRNT)
    • high throughput SARS-CoV-2 screening assays
    • diagnostic development and testing capacity
    • virus propagation and quantification

    In vivo research capacity:

    • small animal (e.g. mice, rabbits, etc.) disease models
    • Non-Human Primates (NHP) disease models
    • standard in vivo virologic and immunological assays
    • pre-clinical vaccines and therapeutics testing

    Additionally ERINHA provides support for:

    • Coordination of pre-clinical research activities
    • Project management
    • Advice on protocols
  • Rapid testing of binders/inhibitors to viral proteins

    EU-OPENSCREEN

    EU-OPENSCREEN, which integrates high-capacity screening networks throughout Europe, and its partner sites are actively involved in a range of activities to study the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, identify therapeutics and search for diagnostics. Efforts include:

    • Exploiting competences in drug discovery with focus on drug repurposing activities and the development of high throughput screening assays for the rapid testing of binders/inhibitors to viral proteins
    • Some partners contribute to the development and implementation of new diagnostic tests for COVID-19
    • Fast access track for scientists wishing to use our pilot compound library for their COVID-19 related research activities
    • Recently submitted H2020 proposal "EUROCOVID"
  • Biological and biomedical imaging support for COVID-19 projects

    Euro-BioImaging

    Biological and biomedical imaging technologies are essential for addressing many research questions - such as those related to the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the COVID-19 disease it causes - from fundamental research at the molecular and cellular level to medical applications and diagnostics.


    Currently, computed tomography (CT) is the imaging method of choice to diagnose and monitor patients with COVID-19 because of its resolution, availability in intensive care units, and cost-effectiveness. However, most of the available imaging modalities will be centrally involved in research projects aimed at the development of therapeutics and diagnostics to combat coronavirus infection. The need for an in-depth understanding of the molecular processes of the infection will require the design and testing of innovative imaging probes and the access to proper cellular and animal models that are in the domain of Euro-BioImaging Nodes. Moreover the skills in image analysis together with the access to the powerful AI tools will represent an area where our research infrastructure aims to support the biological and biomedical communities.


    Euro-BioImaging continues to support life science research throughout the current pandemic crisis and, where possible, will give priority access to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 related research. Euro-BioImaging’s support includes:

    • Support to users in planning future activities
    • Access to data related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research, including via the BioImage Archive
    • Collection of resources useful to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research
  • Mouse/rat models for research on vaccines and treatments

    INFRAFRONTIER

    INFRAFRONTIER, the European Research Infrastructure for the generation, phenotyping, archiving and distribution of model mammalian genomes, is fully committed to support researchers around the globe to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and to find treatments for COVID-19.


    Resources include:

    • Mouse/Rat models generation, cryopreservation, Phenotyping and Drug validation
    • Fast-track editing of immune-related genes (PMID: 31591574) and genes related to COVID19 research
    • High-dimensional immunophenotyping under normal and under Biosafety Level 3 laboratory (BSL3) conditions relevant to COVID19 research (all lymphoid and myeloid populations found in normal and inflamed tissue parenchyma (lung, intestine…), blood, bronchoalveolar fluid and lymphoid organ
    • Rapid archiving service for the wider scientific community as Covid-19 contingency plans. Sperm freezing.
    • And many more. Click the link for a full list per facility. 
  • Priority access to structural biology services for COVID-19 research

    Instruct-ERIC

    Instruct-ERIC is committed to the use of its infrastructure in response to emerging societal needs. In the case of the COVID-19 virus, Instruct-ERIC would like to ensure that resources are made available to support researchers in their efforts to study the virus, working towards the development of an effective vaccine or treatment.


    Where possible, Instruct-ERIC is offering priority access for research directly related to COVID-19. Priority access ensures a faster review of research proposals relating to COVID-19. In order to protect staff and users, physical visits to Instruct Centres has been suspended but it may be possible to undertake research remotely during the restricted access period, subject to individual Centre availability.


    In addition, Instruct-ERIC has compiled a list of resources for COVID-19 research, which may be of interest to the wider life science community. 

  • Computational services for drug development

    Instruct-ITALIA

    As a contribution to the global fight against COVID-19, Instruct-ITALIA has extended its portfolio of services available to users by including a variety of computational services mostly aimed at drug development. The new services include 3D structural modeling, analysis of high-throughput NMR-based screening and modeling of ligand-protein interactions, based also on screening data. Proposals can be submitted via the form at https://access.cerm.unifi.it

  • Publications and Modeling

    ISBE

    ISBE.NL, the Dutch Node of ISBE, has published several resources on COVID-19:

  • Services for COVID-19 Vaccine Developers

    TRANSVAC (EATRIS, ECRIN, Instruct)

    Researchers developing vaccine candidates against COVID-19 can benefit from TRANSVAC2 services, namely but not exclusively:

    • Animal models: CEA; BPRC; IRTA; CReSA; Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)
    • Adjuvant formulation: VACCINE FORMULATION INSTITUTE LIMITED; HZI
    • Clinical Trial Support: ECRIN (European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network)
    • Regulatory support: EATRIS and European Vaccine Initiative

    TRANSVAC is an H2020 project dedicated to accelerate vaccine candidates across the R&D pipeline, by offering services to vaccine developers in academic and industry settings. 

Additional COVID-19 initiatives from the life science community

The following are more initiatives in the fight against COVID-19 within the life science community. To add your initiative, please contact us

 

Research Infrastructures and COVID-19 Research

A long list of instruments, laboratories, services and resources available. 

 

European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC-Forum) initiatives

Within the ERIC landscape, several ERICs have set up or are currently planning various initiatives in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654248.