Armed with innovation:
The fight to beat the pandemic

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In early 2020, Europe, along with the rest of the world, was struck by the greatest public health challenge of our time. We were acutely unprepared, and as a result COVID-19 posed a significant threat to our healthcare systems, our economy, and our way of life.

The pandemic led to immense challenges across all sectors, yet it was healthcare that moved into pivotal focus. Innovators, especially those in healthcare, were called upon by governments, healthcare providers and citizens alike to strengthen our response to the virus.

As part of EU body the EIT, we joined the coordinated EU response from the European Commission. As the largest healthcare innovation community in Europe, EIT Health was uniquely placed to act. Bringing together our approximately 280 partners across research, academia, industry, and healthcare delivery, as well as thousands of start-ups and entrepreneurs, we began a journey to arm Europe with innovative solutions that could be used to strengthen our resolve against COVID-19.

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A COVID-19 spotlight special edition

EIT Health expedited the initiation of activity to support the fight against COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. New products and services were needed including testing and diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, medical and personal protective equipment, clinical support, and patient monitoring. So we launched 15 projects to find and launch new solutions in these areas. Promising European start-ups were also struggling with the economic downturn, so EIT Health launched support to help them weather the storm and continue their vital work. Finally, we launched the ‘making connections’ marketplace which allowed those working in healthcare across the world to connect with others for cooperation opportunities. This COVID-19 special edition tells the story of the actions of the EIT Health community as the pandemic unfolded in an approximately 45-minute film.

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Dr Alexander von Gabain

Professor of Microbiology and former EIT Health Supervisory Board Chair

“We were entirely underestimating the impact and capability of such a virus… pandemics are an imminent and permanent threat”

Dr Carolina García-Vidal

Senior Infectious Disease Specialist, Hospital Clinic Barcelona

“The only thing that has helped us in this very difficult time has been science”

Jan-Philipp Beck

Former CEO, EIT Health

“To respond to such a threat, you must bring together many different capabilities, and that’s what EIT Health does. In all these initiatives, there are so many difficulties and challenges to face - we are in a much better position because of the contribution of people with extraordinary energy”