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UMCs join forces to increase pandemic preparedness

Four university medical centres, including the LUMC, are joining forces to increase pandemic preparedness in the Netherlands. They are creating a network and infrastructure to develop drugs and vaccines for infectious diseases.

New pandemic on the horizon

To develop the plans, the partnership will receive a 9.5m euro grant from ZonMw.

Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites, for example, are not always innocent. That is the hard lesson the world learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts say there is a realistic chance of a new pandemic. Pandemic preparedness means being prepared for a possible new global outbreak. This will limit the impact on public health, society and the economy.

The power of collaboration

During a pandemic, patients must receive quick and effective treatment. This limits both the personal and societal impact. Experts from four university medical centres and the CHDR and FAST are joining forces. The partnership envisions a national network, known as InFECT-NL, of experts and research and other infrastructure. The aim is twofold: accelerating the identification and production of new drugs and vaccines against infectious diseases and creating a platform to share knowledge and experience with all sectors.

First step

The InFECT-NL proposal has received a 9.5m kick-start grant.  An independent party will begin by researching the technical aspects of the proposal, the intended timelines and the expected costs. If it issues a positive recommendation, InFECT-NL will be established. FAST will then set up the platform, and the necessary research or other infrastructure will be built.


LUMC professor Meta Roestenberg is coordinating the partnership. Alongside the importance of testing new drugs, she highlights the power of knowledge within the Dutch academic network. ‘Bringing together our knowledge and expertise will enable us to make a big impact, not only on preparing for a pandemic but also on global health.’

*The alliance comprises Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), Radboudumc, Amsterdam UMC, UMC Utrecht, the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) and the Centre for Future Affordable Sustainable Therapy Development (FAST).

Photo: Unsplash

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