Pandemic Preparedness: Beyond COVID-19
The COVID-19 outbreak has served as a stress test for European healthcare systems. It has also exposed the cracks in our ability to respond to cross-border health threats. The virus knows no borders and fragmented response strategies have evidently led to varying results, thus highlighting the need for increased cooperation and better preparedness, both now and in the future.
Since the severity of the coronavirus outbreak became clear, so too did the importance of the life sciences and biotechnology ecosystem. The biotech industry responded with unprecedented speed to the emerging health threat, spearheading the race to find a medical countermeasure by prioritising research in vaccines, anti-viral treatments, and diagnostics.
The question was raised, as to, if a treatment or vaccine were to be developed outside Europe, whether it would become available to Europeans. This uncertainty emphasised the need to strengthen Europe’s investment in domestic R&D and innovative manufacturing capabilities, not just for future viral outbreaks, but for all unmet patient needs.
The post COVID-19 environment will require a period of reflection. All aspects of our collective response, and the ability to respond to health threats in the future, will become critical. The event “Pandemic Preparedness: Beyond COVID-19” will seek to begin this discussion, by providing a platform for key actors involved to discuss:
- The lessons learned from the outbreak;
- What can be done to better coordinate our response;
- How to better align our research priorities, and;
- Most importantly, strengthen a European research and innovation ecosystem capable of developing and providing solutions to our future healthcare challenges.
- Dr Peter Liese, MEP (EPP, Germany)
- Maria Pilar Aguar Fernandez, Head of Unit, Health Innovations, DG Research, European Commission
- Sean Marett, Chief Business Officer & Chief Commercial Officer, BioNTech
- Bernard J. Grimm, Healthcare Biotechnology Director, EuropaBio (Moderator)