Published: 2021-02-23 17:03 | Updated: 2021-06-08 16:31

KI participates in the construction of a vaccine network in the EU

Vaccine syringe with EU-flag in background
KI is contributing to a new network for the evaluation and testing of new vaccines. Photo: Getty Images

The European Commission has launched a contingency plan to meet the challenge of the various mutations of the coronavirus. KI and Karolinska University Hospital are contributing to a new network for the evaluation and testing of new vaccines.

The network is called "VACCELERATE" and it will contribute both to the evaluation of ongoing and future vaccinations, as well as lay the foundation for faster clinical testing of future vaccines. In order to detect new mutations more quickly, at least five per cent of all positive COVID-19 tests should also be sequenced.

Christian Giske. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman.
Christian Giske, professor at the Department of Laboratory Medicine Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

“Among other things, we will help to ensure that all the participating countries will have the same prerequisites to conduct their tests in a comparable way,” says Christian Giske, professor at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, KI and senior physician in clinical microbiology at Karolinska University Hospital.

The network currently includes 16 EU countries as well as Israel and Switzerland, all of which will exchange information. Among other things, KI will be contributing its knowledge of laboratory diagnostics and immunological test responses, while Karolinska University Hospital will contribute with the inclusion of research subjects.

Important initiative

In total, KI has received approximately EUR 344,000 in funding. Christian Giske and Matti Sällberg are responsible for KI’s contribution, while Pontus Naucler, Anders Sönnerborg and Helena Hervius Askling are responsible for Karolinska University Hospital’s contribution. 

“This is an extremely important initiative to combat the spread of infection, today and in the future. We need to both monitor the effect of ongoing vaccination and prepare to quickly evaluate and manage new forms of vaccines,” says Christian Giske.

The European Commission's contingency plan, the “HERA Incubator” contains a number of measures to address the spread of new virus variants. There are initiatives for faster approval of future vaccines and support for the mass production of adapted or new COVID-19 vaccines in the form of new European vaccine factories.

In total, the European Commission's plan involves new investments to the tune of at least EUR 225 million.