Coronavirus: EU support to innovators shows promising results

At a virtual media event today, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, presented how the European Innovation Council pilot and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology are supporting innovators to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its societal impact. In the past year, the Commission has invested €226 million through both these EU bodies to support innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses. Many of the projects have already generated promising results: ViruShield, from Germany, has developed a reusable, self-cleaning personal protective equipment that removes 95% of particles and droplets. Advitos, also from Germany, developed a blood purification therapy which reduces the need for ventilator support and increases the survival rate of patients with a severe infection by up to 30%. RapCo-19, from Ireland, has developed an antibody platform to help identify the optimal antibodies to treat severe cases. The Danish company BluSense Diagnostics developed a nanotechnology-based blood test platform for diagnosis of infectious diseases that works with a single drop of blood within minutes. Other Danish entrepreneurs developed a new respiratory suctioning system that can cut healthcare costs. An AI-based virtual management centre for hospitalised COVID-19 patients has demonstrated a 50% reduction in mortality rate. And a start-up from Hungary, Entremo, which was among the winners of the #EUvsVirus Hackathon, has developed a smart monitoring device that allows to monitor patients remotely. Commissioner Gabriel said: “The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges that require innovative ideas. The rapid investments to innovative start-ups and projects through the European Innovation Council and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology have unlocked a range of breakthrough ideas to tackle the crisis and to speed up European and global recovery.” The support is part of the Commission’s €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response, launched last year by President Ursula von der Leyen. €1 billion comes from Horizon 2020 to develop vaccines, new treatments and diagnostic tools. These efforts also build on past and ongoing EU funded research related to coronaviruses and outbreaks. More information is available here and in a factsheet.