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Statement: PREPARE Activated to Mode 3 as Novel Coronavirus Cases in Europe are Rapidly Increasing

PREPARE Annual Meeting Berlin

Antwerp, Belgium – 3 March 2020. The EU-funded Platform foR European Preparedness Against (Re-) emerging Epidemics (PREPARE) has decided to upgrade its response efforts to the novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic to Outbreak Research Response Mode 3, the highest response mode. This means that PREPARE will immediately initiate and implement clinical research studies on SARS-CoV-2 across Europe, it has been preparing for over the last month.

This is a direct result of the steep rise of confirmed cases of the virus in patients across Europe and the world. A total of 69 countries across the world, of which 31 in Europe, have now reported cases of COVID-19, with over 3000 deaths globally. It is evident that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak is an immediate public health threat to Europe. As a consequence, on 2 March, the European Centre for Disease Control and prevention (ECDC) announced that it considers the risk of widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19 in EU/EEA and UK in the coming weeks moderate to high.

It is very likely that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak will become a pandemic with sustained transmission in several European countries. Therefore, we decided to raise the response level to Mode 3. Carrying out clinical research in PREPARE will provide real-time evidence for clinical management of patients and for informing public health responses. We will communicate with more details over the following week” says Herman Goossens, Professor at the University of Antwerp and Coordinator of PREPARE.

All activities are aligned with those of national public health agencies, ECDC and WHO regional offices.

Contact person:
Herman Goossens, MD, PhD
Coordinator of the PREPARE Project
Laboratory of Medical Microbiology
Universiteitsplein 1
B-2610 Antwerp – Belgium
herman.goossens@uza.be
+32 475 327344

About PREPARE
PREPARE is funded by the European Union (2014 – 2021), to establish a European clinical research network covering primary care and hospital care in all EU Member States. Our response to severe outbreaks of infectious diseases is often delayed, isolated, and fragmented. PREPARE implemented large-scale clinical studies to build a European infrastructure for rapid clinical research responses in the face of new infectious disease threats. These clinical studies in inter-epidemic periods will train PREPARE in mounting a rapid, coordinated deployment of Europe’s clinical investigators. PREPARE is coordinated from the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

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