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Focus on: coronavirus

IMI and the coronavirus pandemic: unprecedented rapid response to meet an unprecedented public need 

greeting by maxbelchenko Shutterstock
Image by maxbelchenko Shutterstock​​​​​​


Background: the IMI COVID-19 Call for proposals

On 3 March 2020, IMI launched a Call for proposals in response to the outbreak of SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  The fast-tracked Call was a response to a sudden disease outbreak of enormous consequence to public health, and we are proud of the speed with which we leapt into action. In total, IMI received 144 proposals in response to the Call. Due to the large number of high quality proposals, we decided to increase the funding allocation: the initial value of the contribution was €45 million, but was subsequently increased to €72 million.

On 12 May 2020, we announced the 8 projects that were selected as a result of the Call.  Of the eight chosen projects, five focus on diagnostics and three on treatments. The diagnostics projects hope to develop devices that can be used anywhere and will deliver results fast. While the treatment projects focus primarily on the current COVID-19 outbreak, they also include efforts to prepare for future coronavirus outbreaks. 


Read the details of Call 21 on the coronavirus


The 8 selected projects that resulted from the Call










Read the press release: IMI announces COVID projects, boosts funding pot to EUR 72 million


Video: Pierre Meulien, IMI Executive Director, talks about the response to the Call


The context: pandemic preparedness, needed more than ever

 We can see how the emergence of COVID-19 fits into a larger context; every year, viruses jump from animals to the human population. This is well known. The scientific community needs to be ready to respond regardless of where the next virus comes from. IMI had already been funding research that better prepares the world for this new normal before the outbreak of COVID-19.

As IMI Director Pierre Meulien noted in March 2020, "there’s nothing unexpected about the emergence of these epidemics. Even though the exact source of COVID-19 has not been confirmed, we can already see how it fits into a larger context; the equilibrium between humans and the natural world is being upended. Just like climate change is likely behind extreme weather events, so deforestation, mass industrialisation and a growing population are the backdrop to the emergence and spread of diseases like COVID-19."


Read the editorial by IMI Director Pierre Meulien: COVID-19 is a sign of the times


Editorial: previous IMI investments are proving prescient in the current COVID-19 crisis

The ZAPI project: finding new ways to fight zoonosis

ZAPI: This is like a real-life experiment for us”


What else is IMI doing? The other IMI projects contributing to the response 

A number of IMI’s projects are making valuable contributions to the global effort to tackle COVID-19. The contributions include knowledge, tools and expertise, and while some come from projects in the infectious disease field, projects working in other areas, such as data management and Alzheimer’s disease, are also stepping up to the plate.


Read about the other IMI projects already helping to fight COVID-19 (UPDATED)


Video: IMI is public, private, prepared


The IMI coronavirus call factsheet 



IMI factsheet covid


Download the factsheet: IMI Preparing for pandemics





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