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Source: Federal Ministry of Education and Research With the “National Network of University Medicine on Covid-19”, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) bundles and strengthens research activities in German university clinics to deal with the current pandemic. The BMBF is providing a total of 150 million euros for the University Medicine Network. The network has identified thirteen priority topics on which cross-clinic research projects are now starting. Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek explains: “We need effective concepts in order to be able to treat people suffering from Covid-19 in the best possible way. And we need to find the best strategies to contain the spread of the pandemic. I am convinced that the research presented today by the University Medicine Network will make an important contribution to this. I wish the scientists every success in their work. The university medicine network is unique in this form. All German university hospitals are part of this network. The clinics exchange their knowledge and experiences with the treatment of Covid 19 sufferers and thus continuously learn with and from each other. Together they solve urgent questions for improving treatment and develop treatment strategies and concepts that ensure the best possible care for patients. They are also looking for the best ways to keep the pandemic under control. I would like to thank all those involved for this tireless commitment. ”BackgroundThe aim of the network is to bring together and evaluate data, findings, action plans, diagnostic and treatment strategies from as many German university hospitals as possible and, if necessary, other actors. This bundling of knowledge, skills and resources is intended to create structures and processes in the clinics that ensure the best possible care for those suffering from Covid 19. At the same time, pandemic management is to be supported by health services research and the development of practical recommendations. The following 13 projects are now being jointly tackled by the University Medicine Network: AKTIN – “Real-time health services research with the AKTIN emergency admission register (AKTIN-EZV)” The AKTIN emergency admission register will be adapted and expanded for pandemic research. The register improves emergency medical care research because it makes structures and processes uniformly visible across clinics. It is to be used to analyze the supply situation from the first Covid-19 pandemic wave and to provide up-to-date data from emergency rooms. These can be used for epidemiological evaluations and Covid-19-specific research questions. At the same time, recurring epidemic waves and the resulting supply bottlenecks can be identified at an early stage in the sense of an early warning system. B-FAST – “Nationwide Research Network Applied Surveillance and Testing” Surveillance comprises the observation, analysis, interpretation and reporting of health data. The corona pandemic shows that different testing and monitoring strategies are required for the general population, schools and daycare centers, any risk areas and clinics. B-Fast is developing a platform in which such strategies can be tried out. To do this, it brings together different analyzes and evaluations. It supports strategies that not only help in the acute crisis, but can also be carried over to future pandemics. CEO-sys – “Establishing a Covid-19 evidence ecosystem to improve knowledge management and translation” Evidence-based medicine guarantees the best possible care because it is based on current scientific knowledge. Numerous German university hospitals, in conjunction with the international Cochrane network, provide the scientific basis for this. A national evidence network on Covid-19 is being set up in CEO-sys – under the leadership of Cochrane Germany. The dynamically developing state of data and knowledge on Covid-19 is continuously processed, evaluated and communicated to target groups in this evidence network. This creates a basis for individual therapy decisions as well as institutional and public care strategies. Compass – “Coordination on mobile pandemic apps best practice and solution sharing” In the project, a platform is set up that coordinates and provides concrete methods and tools for pandemic apps. Partners from science and business are joining forces nationwide and are pursuing an open source approach. Together they coordinate and evaluate the pandemic apps and create recommendations for action. This also creates a basis for digital solutions in order to be better digitally equipped for future pandemics. COVIM – “Determination and use of SARS-CoV-2 immunity” In the project, numerous university clinics are cooperating to bring together immunological data from population studies and the examination of recovered people from Covid-19 and to generate new scientific findings on immunity to SARS-CoV-2. In addition, it will be investigated how immunity can be transferred to other people and used for new therapeutic approaches. COVIM works closely with the projects also funded in the University Medicine Network, in particular with NAPKON, B-FAST and CEO-sys. DEFEAT PANDEMIcs – “German Research Network Autopsies in Pandemics” In the project, a Germany-wide autopsy network is being set up in which data, biomaterials and findings are systematically and standardized recorded and merged. This unique networking of most of the pathological, neuropathological and forensic medical institutes of German university hospitals and non-university partners enables a deeper understanding of the disease and helps to develop more effective therapeutic approaches. EViPan – “Development, testing and implementation of regionally adaptive supply structures and processes for evidence-based pandemic management coordinated by the university medicine” In order to be able to recognize and treat Covid-19 patients even faster and better in the future, a national pandemic management is required. It also helps to avoid contagion and to be prepared for future pandemics. As internationally networked maximum care providers and research institutions, the university clinics are at the center of regional health networks. In the project, they cooperate with the Robert Koch Institute and with the public health service and the state governments to achieve the goal together. FoDaPla – “National Research Data Platform” In this project, a nationwide uniform, data protection compliant infrastructure for the storage of Covid-19 research data sets is created. In this research data platform, for example, laboratory data can be pseudonymized and made available to researchers using secure and transparent procedures. This makes the platform a central source of information for various research projects that deal with the development of better treatment approaches for Covid-19. MethodCov – “Method network to support Covid-19 research projects in the measurement of social and contextual factors” Whether a person gets sick with Covid-19 and how the disease progresses depends on very different factors. The MethodCov project is building a network of experts who analyze the influence of social factors. These concern, for example, the job or the living environment. The findings from this network can create new prevention approaches and clinical therapy concepts for groups of the population who require special protection in the pandemic. NAPKON – “National Pandemic Cohort Network” The NAPKON project creates the basis for a better understanding of the course of the disease with Covid-19 and the research of possible therapies by combining clinical data, biosamples and imaging data in scientific studies. NAPKON is closely linked to the development of the national research data platform and cooperates with the COVIM project. The studies that are made possible in this way can, for example, provide information about the long-term consequences of Covid 19 disease, even if those affected switch from the clinic to the family doctor during treatment. Organo-Strat – “Organ-specific stratification in Covid-19” The Organo-Strat project aims to establish a network that uses organ models developed in the laboratory together. This enables organ-specific research questions to be worked on synergistically through a coordinated approach. It depends on a close interaction between university clinics and high-security laboratories. Tissue and autopsy samples should include can be used to conduct more meaningful studies on Covid-19 and other diseases. In the long term, this should enable therapies that are individually tailored to the patient. PallPan – “National strategy for palliative care in pandemic times” In this project, recommendations for action and information materials are created on a scientific basis in order to be able to provide the best possible care for seriously ill and dying people even in pandemic times and to take their concerns – as well as those of their relatives – into account. This is the largest structured association of palliative medicine in a research project in Germany to date. RACOON – “Radiological Cooperative Network on the Covid-19 Pandemic” RACOON is the first Germany-wide radiology platform in which almost all university hospitals are involved. Here, X-rays of patients suspected of having Covid-19 are brought together and related to the course of the disease. The findings are analyzed using artificial intelligence. This enables a faster and more precise diagnosis of the disease and its course and creates a basis for decision-making for epidemiological studies, situation assessments and early warning mechanisms.


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