Europe’s COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness is set to be intrinsically analysed by COVIDRIVE – a new public-private partnership implemented to investigate the medication’s efficacy.
The novel project will comprehensively examine COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness across a range of products in Europe, which will aid in better informing the regions’ public health response and will assist vaccine companies’ in addressing their regulatory obligations.
COVIDRIVE will encompass a plethora of organisations, such as vaccine companies, public institutions, and small to medium enterprises. This includes AstraZeneca (UK), FISABIO (Spain), P95 (Belgium), THL (Finland), CureVac (Germany), Janssen (Belgium), Sanofi-Pasteur (France), and GSK (Belgium).
How the project will assess COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness
The multi-stakeholder partnership will carry out multiple studies to test COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness in a range of real-world scenarios, which will help to supplement knowledge already obtained from robust clinical trials conducted for marketing authorisations.
In addition to the general efficacy of the vaccine, other areas that the COVIDRIVE partnership will explore are the duration of vaccine protection, effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 strains, effectiveness against severe COVID-19, and impacts on special risk groups. These include the immunocompromised, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions or existing comorbidities.
Ensuring the safety of Europe’s citizens
The COVIDRIVE partnership follows in the footsteps of DRIVE – a European influenza vaccine effectiveness platform that annually gave brand-specific efficacy estimates to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) since its inception in 2017. The first two pharmaceutical companies in the partnership to launch their COVIDRIVE brand-specific COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness assessments are Janssen and AstraZeneca, with the process already starting last month.
Thomas Verstraeten, P95’s CEO and co-coordinator of COVIDRIVE, said: “COVIDRIVE leverages the work generated during DRIVE’s four years of life. The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for a public-private collaborative environment to generate vaccine effectiveness data to advise the design of national immunisation programmes and to fulfil the effectiveness requirements established by the regulatory authorities.”
COVIDRIVE has pioneered a vast observational study network of COVID-19 across Europe, which combines over 40 hospitals. Furthermore, an additional 500 General Practitioners from ten European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom have stated that they want to join the partnership.
Professor Javier Díez-Domingo, Head of the Vaccines Research department of the FISABIO foundation and COVIDRIVE co-coordinator, said: “We will be prioritising the study of the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines against COVID-19 related hospitalisations. The rationale behind this prioritisation is that COVID-19 hospitalisations are one of the main reasons for national and regional governments to impose public health measures such as shutdowns, social distance, and wearing masks to relieve the disease burden on healthcare systems.
“Producing accurate and timely information on how well the different COVID-19 vaccines protect against hospitalisations and remain protective over time is essential to successfully manage the pandemic.”
Dr Su-Peing Ng, Chief Medical Officer of Sanofi Pasteur, commented: “Through the public and private, scientific partnership, COVIDRIVE will deliver essential data and insights to support COVID-19 control and advance disease understanding. We are confident that the anticipated studies will provide important insights into the value brought by vaccination against COVID-19.”