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Armed with innovation: EIT Health Spotlight 2021 shows the fight to beat the pandemic

In early 2020, Europe, along with the rest of the world, was struck by the greatest public health challenge of our time. We were acutely unprepared, and as a result, COVID-19 posed a significant threat to our healthcare systems, our economy, and our way of life.

The pandemic led to immense challenges across all sectors, yet it was healthcare that moved into pivotal focus. Innovators, especially those in healthcare, were called upon by governments, healthcare providers and citizens alike to strengthen our response to the virus.

The EIT joined the EU response coordinated by the European Commission. As the largest healthcare innovation community in Europe, EIT Health was was in a unique position to act. Bringing together our approximately 150 partners across research, academia, industry, and healthcare delivery, as well as thousands of start-ups and entrepreneurs, we set out to arm Europe with innovative solutions that would strengthen us in the fight against COVID-19.

 

At a rapid pace, EIT Health began activities in spring 2020 that would develop and bring into the system support for the fight against COVID-19. New products and services were needed including testing and diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, medical and personal protective equipment, clinical support, and patient monitoring. We launched 15 projects to find and provide new solutions in these areas. Promising European start-ups were also struggling with the economic downturn, so EIT Health made support available to help them weather the storm and continue their vital work. Finally, we launched the ‘making connections’ marketplace which allowed those working in healthcare across the world to connect with others for cooperation opportunities.

 

Watch this COVID-19 special edition that tells the story of the EIT Health community, that went into action as the pandemic unfolded:

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As the team of the EIT Health RIH in Germany and Switzerland, we are beyond happy that Ancora.ai, the winner of the EIT Health Headstart award 2020 is also presented in the video.

The AI-powered online platform of Ancora.ai democratizes clinical trials. The search tool identifies clinical trials and matches them to patients. Originally intended to support oncology patients, the team expanded their solution in March 2020, designed a specific algorithm, and developed a patient-tailored questionnaire to recruit patients for COVID-19 trials.

“A lot of the way that clinical trials were being conducted before the pandemic was quite an old school, requiring face to face patient visits, patients literally carrying their medical records from one appointment to the next. And we’ve seen a lot of that change and adoption of new technologies like Ancora.”- Dr Emily Jordan, COO and Co-Founder of Ancora.ai.