Brussels, Belgium – On January 17 2019, PREPARE and COMBACTE joined forces to organise a successful kick-off meeting that launched the ECRAID-Plan project in Brussels. ECRAID-Plan is funded by the EC H2020 programme and will develop a business plan over the next two years for ECRAID. ECRAID stands for European Clinical Research Alliance on Infectious Diseases. This novel initiative envisages a European-wide sustainable clinical research organisation for infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance that stems from both PREPARE and COMBACTE.
The kick-off opened with encouraging keynote speeches by Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation, Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome Trust, and Magda Chlebus, Executive Director of Science Policy & Regulatory Affairs at EFPIA, who have all offered their support for building a European clinical research infrastructure for Infectious Diseases . EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas stated in his speech that antimicrobial resistance and infectious diseases “are two sides of the same coin and must be dealt with together or we will fail on both”.
The pressing need for sustainability in European clinical research was further emphasised by Professor Chris Butler who presented the legacies of EU-funded projects and the potential of their already-established infrastructures and capabilities. Furthermore, the meeting included a series of panel discussions led by a range of relevant interest groups and stakeholders, including preclinical and clinical research networks, the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry, and public agencies. These panel discussions stimulated lively exchanges on the future benefits that ECRAID has to offer and its possible challenges.