Proposals submitted under this expression of interest are expected to build on existing large-scale, multi-centre, regional or international cohorts worldwide and/or establish new ones linked to those. These cohorts should aim to rapidly advance the knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants of concern, with the aim of developing evidence-based strategic and robust recommendations for the effective control and prevention of COVID-19 infection. The regional or international cohort(s) should allow to rapidly and consistently provide estimations on the occurrence and spread of emerging variants of concern in different parts of the world. They should contribute to a better understanding of their transmissibility, virulence and pathogenicity.
Risk and protective factors to infection, and clinical manifestation including long-term post-infection sequelae (long COVID) should be investigated for different variants and different (risk) groups (e.g. children, elderly) to potentially identify biomarkers for vulnerable populations and inform treatment options.
The cohort(s) should also contribute to elucidating the effectiveness of the various first-generation vaccines and the risk of reinfection in previously infected individuals in the different cohort populations, including risk groups, to inform on optimal vaccine strategies. The effectiveness of second-generation or adjusted vaccines should be considered as soon as they become available.
Clinical studies, carried out within the cohort(s), might also help to inform best treatment options and vaccine strategies.
The cohort(s) should cover different regions of the world to capture the various variants and vaccine and treatment strategies.