S&D Euro MPs today urge the European Commission to act fast in order to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent such events in the future. They underline the need for the fast deployment of Horizon funds for research and innovation in the medical field. The urgent deployment of the €164 million fast-track call for startups and SMEs with technologies and innovations that could help in treating, testing and monitoring, or aid other aspects of the coronavirus outbreak, are essential in this respect.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is having a very powerful impact from an economic-social point of view, and could create the conditions for evolutionary/de-evolutionary drives that will accompany us throughout the decade. In this scenario, research and innovation, new digital technologies, such as AI and block-chain, can find the way to emerge and install themselves in different fields: one of these is scientific research, with particular reference to the medical sector,” has stated S&D vice-president, Ismail Ertug.

“In times of ‘peace’, when we were far from the current pandemic emergency, we were unable to prepare for the new virus that causes the serious respiratory disease, called COVID-19. We insist on the need to be able to quickly activate fundamental instruments and increased funding for research and innovation in a coordinated manner throughout the European Union. The hope is that once out of this emergency, we can learn the lesson of anticipation of possible, perhaps probable, future epidemics,” said MEP Ertug.

“A sound and long-term funding of European research can help scientific progress and accelerate medical research, providing researchers with the tools and operational possibilities to address some very important challenges: vaccines, reproducibility of results, data sharing, privacy of information and patient enrolment in clinical trials,” added Dan Nica, S&D spokesman on industry and research, and Horizon Europe negotiator.

“The exit from this health emergency will make it possible to keep a cool mind when thinking about the current shortcomings and new problems in R&I and the need to further insist for the strengthening of the European Research Area, where mobility of researchers with excellent working conditions will be increasingly decisive. Now is a crucial moment to show solidarity, and research teams from across the EU and beyond should start working on developing vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical systems aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus,” concluded MEP Nica.