EIT Community COVID-19 response

The EIT Community applauds the efforts and contributions of those at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. This section presents the measures, activities and solutions powered by its Community, Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem set up to drive innovation across Europe.

The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly affecting the EIT Community and, in particular, the unique support it provides across Europe to students, entrepreneurs and innovators dedicated to developing innovative solutions to societal challenges.

EIT COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS

Under the EIT’s coordination, the eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) have mobilised their partnerships, are proactively responding in a strategic and operational manner to the short-term challenges resulting from COVID-19, and also looking ahead to the expected immense economic and social challenges to follow.

Having activated robust business continuity measures, the EIT Community is delivering a flexible response to the crisis. It has mobilised a crisis mechanism to respond to the significant challenges faced since the majority of activities have been directly impacted.  For example, the EIT prepared the early release of EUR 100 million for ailing innovators as a crisis response measure. The Community is also seizing the opportunity to respond and contribute to solutions at both EIT and KIC levels.

The EIT Community’s response focuses, on the one hand, on the most vulnerable beneficiary groups affected by the crisis, i.e. students, entrepreneurs (start-ups and SMEs) and innovators. On the other hand, a review and adjustment of focus of calls for activities for 2020 and 2021 is also ongoing to include a shift towards more direct COVID-19 related measures with EIT Health as the key driver. EIT Health, in the immediate situation and as one of the leading health innovation communities in Europe, is centrally placed to support the response to the pandemic.

Other EIT Community activities in the pipeline cover the acceleration of bringing healthcare solution to the market that allow for remote screening and monitoring of patients by EIT Digital; the recovery of confidence in the urban mobility sector by EIT Urban Mobility as a way to counteract people returning to individual car traffic (e.g. projects to create solutions for the safe use of public transport); the mobilisation of 3-D printing and robotics by EIT RawMaterials to manufacture vital medical devices or test kits; as well as coordinated measures across EIT Manufacturing’s network that will shorten manufacturing supply chains and relocate manufacturing production sites to Europe.

It is important to also acknowledged that innovation is a significant part of the solution. The world we live in is changing dramatically with significant changes to our society, how we look at opportunities and how we respond to challenges. The EIT Community stands ready to immediately respond to the crisis with concrete activities and resources to support the global response to the pandemic and with solutions {hyperlink to activities page} powered by innovators and organisations within its ecosystem.

Below are some ongoing EIT Community activities and resources to respond to the pandemic.

EIT Health Headstart COVID 19 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our society. The EIT Health community is at the forefront of healthcare innovation, and is well placed to play a role in responding to the crisis.

EIT Health: Make Connections

A new solution has been launched on EIT Health’s website, allowing people working in COVID-19 related research, product development or front-line healthcare roles to share their on the ground needs and solutions. The idea is to find out directly from the experts, what is needed right now in terms of resources in the fight against COVID-19, and what resources can be shared, to strengthen efforts collectively. Practically, this enables those working in the healthcare sector to post an ‘offer’ or an ‘ask’ request and find their ‘match’ with the supported of EIT Health’s teams across Europe. The webpage is available here.

Going online quickly ‘Teaching online in times of crisis’ 

In these times of disruption of our daily activities, including life on campus, it is important to find new ways of delivering education to students. EIT InnoEnergy has collected and curated a number of resources to help teachers at universities (and elsewhere) to quickly move and adjust to quality online teaching & learning.

EIT online education portfolio ‘Develop your skills with an EIT Community online course

Many of us are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic; take advantage of the EIT's educational offerings at Master and PhD levels. As well as these, the EIT Community offers a variety of online courses suitable for professional and a wide range of learners.


Solutions

Discover solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic developed by EIT Community innovators: from partner organisations in our ecosystem to ones powered by supported ventures to ones from EIT Alumni. This includes innovative solutions tailored to support the affected sectors and ones helping to ensure business continuity in this difficult period.

HSE and Wellola collaborate to deliver secure patient communication portal 

EIT Health-supported venture Wellola provides the patient portal in Ireland to support general practitioners, primary care providers and patients during COVID-19​​​​​​.

OpenTeleHealth develops COVID-19 telemedicine

EIT Digital accelerator alumnus OpenTeleHealth has developed a tool that increases healthcare efficiency by screening and monitoring patients remotely with fully automated COVID-19 clinical protocols. Patients use a simple app to input their health status parameters from their own homes. Through a web portal, health professionals review patients’ health information and communicate via chat. The tool is a standardised solution for large scale roll out. One server installation, that takes two to three days to install, can be used for one million citizens.

Altoida offers free remote brain health checks

EIT Health supported Altoida helps protect caretakers and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Altoida NMI enables remote, easy and accurate screening as well as monitoring of Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Grape.io offers free trials for schools, health care personnel and small businesses
Grape.io is a communication platform that integrates with market-leading tools and legacy software to ensure companies to remain productive and efficient while working remotely. The EIT Digital Accelerator supported scale-up is now offering their services for free to small businesses and healthcare professionals in need of communication infrastructure. Through their partner in education, UNTIS, they are able to facilitate Austrian schools with an online class room. Schools can use Grape.io’s services for free until July. UNTIS was recently recommended by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation to schools looking for online learning solutions.

Test your web applications for free
Companies involved in education, health or remote work that are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic are able to load test their web applications using Gatling.io’s solution. By simulating hundreds, thousands or million users, companies are able to test the ability of their web application to deal with critical situations where a big number of users are online. The Paris-based scale-up is supported through the EIT Digital Accelerator.

Allowing technicians and engineers to work from home
The need for augmented reality based remote support solutions in manufacturing is becoming more visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ocuvalis, winner of the EIT Digital challenge, works on tablets and smartphones and uses smart glasses and augmented reality to connect technicians on the factory site with the maintenance experts remotely. Their solution also benefits telecom operators that are unable to send technicians to homes and companies for internet and TV maintenance. By sending the Oculavis’ remote maintenance kits to clients, service specialist can help clients remotely with their issues.  To ensure the business continuity for manufacturing companies, Ocuvalis is offering businesses 10 free licenses for 42 days.

Cognitive City to fight COVID-19

EIT Climate-KIC’s partner, Exaptive, with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has developed a Cognitive City, aiming at sharing knowledge and connect experts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and accelerate the development of a vaccine. Only within the first few days, the community grew exponentially.

EIT Health France backs initiative to relieve healthcare system

EIT Health France is supporting the recently founded ‘Health Innovation Coalition – Health Crisis’ that aims to relieve congestion in the health system and ensure that patients with chronic diseases continue to be treated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition, including EIT Health Associate Partner Astra Zeneca, will develop innovative solution based on the needs communicated by the health care establishment, health care professionals, and patient associations. A call for thematic projects has been launch to quickly identify project leaders, start-ups and SMEs capable of deploying concrete solutions.

EIT Health partners aim to have vaccine ready and tested in a year

EIT Health core partner, University of Copenhagen and associate partner Leiden Universitair Medisch Centrum join four other partners in the ambitious Prevent-nCoV project, a consortium that wants to deliver an optimal vaccine against the COVID-19 virus. Members of the consortium are all world-leading experts in their respective fields, covering all relevant areas of viral research and vaccine development. The consortium was just granted a EUR 2.7 million Horizon 2020 grant to further their ground breaking vaccine and conduct clinical studies within 12 months.

First patients enrolled in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Researchers from the University of Oxford (an EIT Health core partner), have launched a new clinical trial to test the effects of potential drug treatments for patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. The first patients have now been recruited. The University of Oxford is testing whether existing medicine can be used to fight the virus. Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and join the trial, will randomly be assigned one of two medicine, or no medicine, while also receiving standard full medical care.

CEA joins consortium working on a new treatment

Research teams in Germany, Denmark, France and Sweden are working together to develop an antiviral treatment for the COVID-19 virus. The consortium includes CEA, an EIT Health core partner. By developing a broad-spectrum antiviral treatment, the research will also build preparedness for future epidemics. The Fight-nCoV project received EUR 2.8 million from the European Commission to develop their treatment. 

UG AND UMCG investigate COVID-19 inhaler

Core partner University Medical Center Groningen and Linked Party Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, are researching if existing medicine that could fight COVID-19 could be dosed through an inhaler. The solution is now being tested on healthy people. By using an inhaler, the lungs are protected against the virus, which is important because the virus mainly affects the lungs.

University of Barcelona part of effort to speed testing

CONVAT, a cooperation project between Spain, Italy and France and coordinated by EIT Health core partner University of Barcelona, is developing a point-of-care platform for rapid diagnosis and monitoring of the coronavirus. Patients can be diagnosed directly from their sample, without the need for testing in centralised laboratories. The new device, based on optical biosensor nanotechnology, is expected to become widely available in less than 12 months. The project was recently rewarded a grant from the European Commission. 

Eurecat to open laboratories for mask trials

Spanish Technology Centre, Eurecat is opening their laboratories for mask testing to guarantee their effectiveness. The EIT Health partner will tests masks, as well as the components necessary for the manufacturing, by validating its effectiveness at the level of filtration bacterial, breathability and microbial cleaning. Manufacturers that have started to design and produce masks using different technologies, will now be able to know if they comply with the requirements that protect the mask users.

IPN supports COVID-19 learning game

Mindflow, a Portuguese training company based at and supported by the Pedro Nunes Institute (an EIT Health associate partner), has developed a learning video game about COVID-19. The aim of the game is to inform the population about the crisis, reduce excessive alarmism and demystifying issues surrounding the disease. The game is available in 16 languages and available on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

Philips ramps up health tech production

Global leader in health technology and EIT Health core partner, Philips, is increasing the production of certain critical care products and solutions to help diagnose and treat patients with COVID-19. For example, Philips is ramping up the production of hospital ventilators and plans to double production within the next eight weeks and achieve a four-fold increase by the third quarter of 2020.

Supercomputer seeks molecules to fight virus

European supercomputing and life science champions are working together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by identifying the safest and most promising drugs and strategies for treatment of the virus. 18 top research institutions, including EIT Health partners Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, KU Leuven, Università Federico Il di Napoli and KTH, come together in the Exscalate project, that was recently granted a EUR 3 million grant from the European Commission. After identifying the safest and most promising drugs for immediate treatment of the already infected population, the project will identify molecules capable of inhibiting the pathogenesis of coronavirus to counter future contagions.

Beiersdorf starts producing disinfectants

Leading skin care company and EIT Health associate partner Beiersdorf is ramping up its production of medical grade disinfectants. As a first step, Beiersdorf will provide 500 tons of the urgently needed disinfectants to critical public emergency services and personnel.