A multidisciplinary team of researchers from 11 different countries are starting a project on speeding up the development of vaccines. Researchers from the University of Groningen (UG) and the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) will study whether miniature lungs (‘mini-lungs’) can be deployed in a propagator to predict which vaccines work well against respiratory infections such as the flu.
An estimated 2.5 million lives are saved each year and millions of people are protected from illness and disability because of vaccines. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important it is to be able to respond quickly to dangerous pathogens. However, the time lines needed to research and develop classic vaccines are long and costly. On average, it takes over 10 years to launch a new vaccine on the market – at a cost of more than €800 million.
A large, interdisciplinary project has been set up to change this state of affairs. By designing and applying advanced new models of human organs, it should be possible to develop and produce vaccines more quickly.
The Department of Medical Microbiology & Infection Prevention at the UMCG and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy will jointly participate in the project. Together, they will research whether mini-lungs can be deployed in a propagator to predict which vaccines work well against respiratory infections such as the flu.
The project, Inno4vac, is a public-private partnership, jointly financed by the EU and vaccine producers, which is being coordinated by the European Vaccine Initiative in Germany. In total, there are 41 project partners from 11 different European countries. A total of €33 million has been set aside for the project. More information can be found on the European Vaccine Initiative website.
Various UG research consortia have been awarded substantial grants by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The Open Competition Domain Science–XL grants have been awarded to various research proposals within the exact and natural sciences.
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