Efficient and rapidly SCAlable EU-wide evidence-driven Pandemic response plans through dynamic Epidemic data assimilation
Pandemics can potentially disrupt our daily lives and affect every part of society. SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19 disease painfully showed how responding too late, in a fragmented manner and with too little coordination across different sectors and countries, led to massive human and economic costs. ESCAPE’s main objective is to improve the efficiency and scalability of early pandemic response plans by providing evidence-based guidelines, standardised research protocols, retrospective insights, and digital solutions that will support scientists in producing and integrating evidence and informing public health authorities in taking decisions to avert or reduce disease and societal burden.
ESCAPE will provide knowledge and tools that will enhance Europe’s preparedness for a pandemic of pathogen X. These include a science-based blueprint for faster and better decision-making in managing pandemics, tools and frameworks to improve data availability, collection and sharing, as well as advanced analytics and models to understand and project transmission dynamics of pathogen X under candidate response scenarios. ESCAPE will also identify determinants of success and failure in managing pathogen X based on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, helping to develop effective response strategies for future pandemics. In the long-term, by improving pandemic preparedness and the effectiveness of the response to a pandemic of pathogen X, the project will contribute to reducing health burden and potential negative societal and economic consequences during pandemics, as well as increase the confidence of policymakers and the public in science-based solutions. In addition, the project will contribute to fostering a multi-stakeholder intelligent community allowing improved knowledge sharing and cooperation between policymakers, the scientific community, the media and the public, ensuring a much more effective response to future pandemics.
The ESCAPE consortium consists of 8 partners from 7 countries (Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, France and Portugal) who provide complementary expertise in mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, biostatistics, epidemiology, health economics, scientific software development and on several key methodologies that have been developed and successfully applied by the project participants in the fight against SARS, A(H1N1)pdm09, MERS, Ebola, Zika and SARS-CoV-2.
RIVM has a leading role in Work Package 4 (WP4) – Analytics and tools. The main objective of this work package is to develop tools to monitor a pandemic in real time, assess the required and actual effectiveness of control measures from incoming data, and plan for an effective response. Forecasts will achieve this; projections, counterfactual analyses, retrospective analyses, and inferences, based on information that is assimilated from the available data streams, including case notifications/line lists, hospital admissions, genomic sequences of the pathogen and metadata, behavioural (absenteeism, mobility and social network data). RIVM participates in WP2, WP3, WP5 and WP6 and will contribute to different tasks and objectives within these Work Packages.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101095619.