News11 September 2020Brussels, BelgiumResearch and Innovation
Commission supports crucial research on convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19
An important new EU-funded research project, SUPPORT-E, will support and coordinate efforts to determine if COVID-19 convalescent plasma transfusion – using plasma from patients who recovered from the disease - is an effective and safe treatment. The Commission announced today that it will support the project with €4 million.
The funds are mobilised from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as part of the Commission’s €1 billion pledge for coronavirus research and innovation, announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in May.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:
Using plasma from patients that have recovered from Covid-19 and developed an immune response is a very promising avenue for treating the disease, but we need more evidence of efficacy and safety. The Commission is playing an important role by supporting international efforts to provide the evidence to assess the potential of this therapy and to ensure it has no serious adverse effects.
SUPPORT-E is led by the European Blood Alliance (EBA) and brings together 12 major research establishments and clinical centres with world-class research capabilities from six EU countries, Switzerland and the UK. It will co-ordinate and enable clinical studies on convalescent plasma transfusions performed across Europe. This will help not only determine safety and efficacy, but also to better understand which patients should be transfused and how, as well as how the donations should be tested and selected to ensure the best treatment outcome.
SUPPORT-E stands for “SUPporting high quality evaluation of COVID-19 convalescent Plasma thrOughouT Europe”.
The partners in the SUPPORT-E consortium are European Blood Alliance (EBA) ; Etablissement Français du Sang (FR); DRK-Blutspendedienst Baden-Württemberg – Hessen (DE); Stichting Sanquin Bloedvoorziening (NL); Belgische Rode Kruis (BE); Aarhus Universitetshospital (DK); Istituto Superiore di Sanità (IT); Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo (IT); Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale di Mantova (IT); NHS Blood and Transplant (UK); Statens Serum Institut (DK); and Blutspende SRK Schweiz AG (CH).
The Commission supports research on the therapeutic use of plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients, encouraged by early indications of efficacy and an apparent very low incidence of adverse reactions. However, experts agree that more evidence on efficacy is needed, in particular on the optimal treatment protocol. Thus, randomised controlled clinical trials are required to provide the highest quality of evidence of efficacy and safety.
SUPPORT-E is a key initiative to coordinate research, sharing data and therapeutic protocols in real-time at European level. It aims to deliver harmonised recommendations on COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) collection, testing and therapeutic use and could help prepare for future epidemics.
SUPPORT-E contributes to the open-access EU database on COVID convalescent plasma (EU CCP DB) developed by the European Commission, in collaboration with EBA, by gathering, monitoring and analysing data on convalescent plasma donations and patient outcomes following transfusions. Ultimately, it will consolidate evidence on the safety and effectiveness of this therapy.