Full marks for the mid-term meeting of the European Project INNOVA4TB coordinated from the IGTP

- Projects, Research

At the start of Julio the mid-tem meeting of the European project "Innovation in Tuberculosis-INNOVA4TB", designed and coordinated by the Innovation in Respiratory Infections and Tuberculosis Diagnosis research group led by Dr José Dominguez and Cristina Prat took place. INNOVA4TB is a European Project focused on the diagnosis and clinical handling of tuberculosis financed by a Marie Skłodowska Curie award.

At the half-way point of the project the meeting has reviewed all the work carried out so far by the 16 institutions involved and coordinated from the IGTP. Amongst the partners there are hospitals, research centres and private companies from six different countries (Spain, Ukraine, Moldavia, Sweden, Germany and Chile). The aims of the project are to study the host-pathogen interactions, including environmental factors affecting the interactions; to design new diagnostic methods (molecular, imaging, immunological and metabolomic) and to develop innovative treatments for tuberculosis, such as those based on new compounds or new approaches using nanotechnology.

During the meeting, the most significant data obtained during the first year and a half of the project was presented.

"We have carried out 23 exchanges between institutions, which is a total of 38 months work, with 25 new studies started within the context of the project. Additionally the project has established new alliances between other European consortiums, European research networks and patients' associations, which has allowed us to consolidate the research activities," says José Domínguez, Coordinator of the project at the IGTP. From the first day, the coordinator of INNOVA4TB has encouraged a high degree of communication and dissemination of results. The characteristics of the project, based on common learning goals achieved through exchanges, has made several communications actions possible. These are available on the website, where you can hear testimonies of people who have been on exchanges and they are also available through Twitter, Instagram and Linked In.

Online meeting and the effects of COVID-19

The meeting has taken place online as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original plan was to meet in the Ukranian town of Vinnytsia, but at a distance more than 50 people representing the participating institutions and companies were able to take part as well as members of the scientific and ethical committees. The Project Office of the European Commission also participated and gave a very positive evaluation of the work done up to now and the planned projects for the future.

As well as the objectives of INNOVA4TB, time was also devoted to discussing the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on international projects which depend on mobility between institutions in different countries.

"It is a reality that concerns us greatly, and we decided to push for a meeting with representatives of other European consortiums and the European Commission to look into these questions more deeply, seek extensions for the execution of projects and design strategies for the future," explains Domínguez.

Finally there was a discussion on how COVID-19 is having a huge impact on many disease, including tuberculosis. It is estimated that as a consequence of COVID-19 the global battle against tuberculosis will be put back five years, which will mean an excess of deaths from tuberculosis of 1.4 million people in 2025.