Toggle menu Menu

Search

SUPPORT-E European Project on COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

EU Commission allocates €4m grant for Support-E

 

The European project SUPPORT-E (SUPPORTing high-quality evaluation of COVID-19 convalescent plasma throughout Europe) was signed at the beginning of September 2020 by the European Blood Alliance (EBA), coordinator of the project and the European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.

In the absence of validated treatment for COVID-19, this pan-European initiative is unique as it assesses at EU level the potency of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) to treat patients with COVID-19, through clinicals trials supported via this project. It will allow healthcare and policy makers to include or not CCP as a treatment within therapeutically options, based on sound science and evaluation.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has provoked a global health crisis. To date, very limited specific antiviral treatment options have been proven effective and no vaccine is available. Therapeutic options for COVID-19 mainly focus on supportive care. Hence there is a need for new curative strategies that preferably have already been used in clinical practice and are widely available and scalable. Based on clinical experiences from previous epidemics and recent observational data, the use of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may provide a therapeutic solution. Successful adoption of this strategy in clinical practice still requires extensive clinical testing and would therefore benefit from a coordinated approach between blood establishments and clinical centres across EU Member States (and the UK) to support and accelerate high-quality evaluation of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) .

The SUPPORT-E project is funded by the European research programme Horizon 2020 for at total of 4 million Euros and will last for 24 months. Up to now, a Status Report on EU and International ongoing and upcoming clinical trials and a preliminary guidance document with assessment criteria for clinical trials have been produced. These documents lay down the foundation to efficiently achieve the other very challenging goals as scheduled.

The overreaching objectives of SUPPORT-E are to:
  • support high quality clinical evaluation of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP)
  • achieve a consensus on the appropriate use of CCP in the treatment of COVID-19 across EU Member States
  • promote best practices regarding convalescent plasma use in the current health crisis as well as in subsequent crisis involving novel pathogens
Consortium members are:
Participant No Participant organisation name Participant short name WP Country
1 European Blood Alliance (Coordinator) EBA WP7
2 Établissement Français du Sang EFS WP3, WP5 France
3 DRK Blutspendedienst Baden-Württemberg-Hessen DRK- BSD WP2 Germany
4 Stichting Sanquin Bloedvoorziening SAN WP4 The Netherlands
5 Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen RKV WP4 Belgium
6 Aarhus University Hospital AAR WP3 Denmark
7 Istituto Superiore Di Sanita -CNS ISS-CNS WP2 Italy
8 Fondazione irccs policlinico san matteo SMATTEO WP2 Italy
9 Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale (ASST) di Mantova ASST MANTOVA WP6 Italy
10 National Health Service Blood and Transplant NHSBT WP5 UK
11 Statens Serum Institut SSI WP3 Denmark
12 Blutspende SRK Schweiz AG SRK WP2 Switzerland

The project will be developped through seven work packages:

WP1 Assessing CCP, conducting clinical evaluation and defining best practices
1.1 Assess upcoming and ongoing clinical trials (survey)
1.2 Produce preliminary clinical trial guidelines and assessment criteria
1.3 Produce preliminary monitored access guidelines
1.4 Monitor upcoming and ongoing clinical trials

WP2 Supporting high-quality clinical evaluation and producing datasets for inclusion in the database
2.1 Include selected clinical trials and monitored access programmes in SUPPORT-E – feasibility
assessment
2.2 Provide funding for selected clinical trials with limited own resources
2.3 Ensure high-quality dataset accrual in the database
2.4 Interact with different stakeholders to promote high-quality clinical evaluation of CCP and
generate novel clinical data
2.5 Enable interactions between clinical trial groups and reference labs on SARS-CoV-2 antibody
testing
2.6 Undertake further analysis on CCP collection and use

WP 3 Collecting, monitoring and analyzing EU-CCP database data
3.1 Govern the database
3.2 Collect data and monitor real-time data accrual
3.3 Analyse data

WP4 Improving plasma potency assessment
4.1 Facilitating anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing
4.2 Access and cross-border standardisation of PRNT testing
4.3 Compare commercially available assays to PRNT and/ or MN
4.4 Characterise antibody content

WP5 Developing recommendations and preparing for the future
5.1 Integrate all project-generated information
5.2 Conduct cost benefit analysis
5.3 Perform SWOT assessment to support future SOHO development
5.4 Develop recommendations for CCP collection
5.5 Develop recommendations for CCP use to treat COVID-19
5.6 Develop recommendations for future outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 or other novel pathogens

WP6 Dissemination, exploitation and communication
6.1 Develop Dissemination and Exploitation Plan and dissemination material
6.2 Contribute to publications and press-releases
6.3 Draw up layman versions of the Technical Reports
6.4 Organise of a Final Meeting – Stakeholder Conference
6.5 Interact with parallel projects and conduct dialogue with EU

WP7 Project management
7.1 Coordinate project
7.2 Manage project
7.3 Manage administration and finance

SUPPORT-E project methodology

Three integrated elements: Assessment (1), Support (2, 3, 4) and Recommendation (5 and 6)
A Preliminary guidance document is delivered (1) which is then used to select trials and programmes for project inclusion (2).
The Blood Establishments (red circles), clinical trials (light blue circles) and monitored access programmes (dark blue circles) enter donor/recipient data into the database (3).
Additional funding is attributed to clinical trials if warranted (2), interaction with groups(2) is key for data analysis.
Data is collected in the database and monitored (3).

Plasma anti-SARS-Cov-2 Ab testing and profiles are characterised (4) and assessed for donor-recipient correlations (2,4).
All generated assessment results are integrated and the use of CPP is evaluated in terms of safety and efficacy and costs and benefits (5).
Based on the lessons learned, recommendations are developed and disseminated for CCP collection, testing, and use in the current pandemic and future outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 or novel pathogens (5,6).

More information: info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu

  • 17 million donations
  • 470 million population
ES PT GR LT DK MT IT DE RO SE NO FI EE LV CH HU FR GB NL RS HR SI AT IE IS BE LU