Covid-19 Unit: University of Bordeaux takes action

In the current health crisis facing France, the University of Bordeaux has launched its Covid-19 Coordination Unit. The purpose is to make an effective contribution to the fight against the pandemic by supporting collaborative research and innovation projects linked to Covid-19. A seed fund of €500,000 has been dedicated to the work of the Unit.

  • 22/04/2020

By launching the Covid-19 Unit, the University of Bordeaux is coordinating efforts, at its own level and with available resources, in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic and its socio-economic consequences. A seed fund of €500,000 has been made available to enable the quick development of Bordeaux research and innovation projects.

A partnership

A specific organization has been implemented in close liaison with Bordeaux University Hospital in order to not only coordinate all Covid-19-related research actions, but also to provide the most effective response to the real needs of the medical community, for example in terms of equipment.

Alongside the seed fund, the University has issued a specific call for projects to support students and researchers, along with the University Hospital and via the Bordeaux University Foundation (FBU). The role of the Unit is to provide the necessary support for such initiatives and actions in progress, by ensuring a real synergy between the patronage (FBU) and the University of Bordeaux seed fund. 

A clearly-structured unit

A dedicated operating committee was set up on March 30th, 2020. It is composed of 15 people (members of the University of Bordeaux, a representative of the University Hospital and a representative of the Bordeaux University Foundation), who meet remotely at least three times a weeks and work alongside different university departments. The Covid-19 Unit has also created a scientific committee of experts from different disciplines to consolidate complementary efforts. A part of that expertise is linked to the SPARK project, in which the University of Bordeaux is the French relay.

In time, the possibility of sharing experts with other research universities is being considered, while the operating committee may be extended to include research bodies and other partners. 

Concrete objectives

The Covid-19 Unit is now up and running, carrying out information intelligence activities to detect needs (including publishing calls for projects relating to Covid-19, the ANR, Europe, etc.), tracking initiatives by local stakeholders and making sure that resources are mobilized in order to achieve maximum impact. It is also analyzing projects and initiatives and proposing how to prioritize available resources.

To date, some thirty initiatives have been recorded on the UBreACT  dedicated generic e-mail address ubreact@u-bordeaux.fr. They concern:

  • Clinical trials and epidemiological studies in partnership with the University Hospital, such as the COVERAGE outpatient at-home treatment trial for infected patients (X. Anglaret/D. Malvy), which has also been submitted in the national calls for projects (ANR Flash, etc.).
  • Establishment of a record of all the expertise and material resources present in our research units and that might be of use for screening during the lockdown easing phase
  • Projects to set up collective intelligence platforms for society
  • Practical activities to collect protective equipment from our research units and departments (masks, overalls, gloves, sanitizer gel) for healthcare teams.