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The collaboration brings the European Health Data & Evidence Network (EHDEN) together with the European Medicines Agency and partners.

Map of Europe showing instances of COVID-19 © Photo by KOBU agency on UnSplash

Two leading European Health Data & Evidence Network (EHDEN) partners, its lead academic institution Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, and its research coordinator, University of Oxford, are actively involved in the conduct of multicentre cohort studies on the use of medicines in COVID-19 patients.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project, EHDEN announced its involvement in establishing the European framework and research network for the project last week.

At the same time the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced a one-year EMA-funded project, which includes data sources from eight European countries standardised to the OMOP-Common Data Model and is contracted to IQVIA as the coordinating partner.

Associate Professor Peter Rijnbeek, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, and Coordinator of EHDEN said, "This is precisely what EHDEN was set up for: creating an international, open science network in Europe, based on a common data model, standardised analytics, tools, and methodologies." He went on to state, "It's exciting to participate in this project and further strengthen our collaboration with the EMA."

NDORMS Professor Dani Prieto Alhambra and Research Coordinator of EHDEN stated: "COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact across the globe. A critical issue is the need for relevant data to generate evidence and insights to inform decision makers, whether clinicians, governments or regulatory agencies, and we are looking forward to deepening our collaboration on this."

EHDEN is developing a federated research network, based on data harmonisation and standardised analytics within the Observational Health Data Sciences & Informatics (OHDSI) global initiative. The project is currently working with twenty-five Data Partners in ten European countries on mapping their COVID-19 clinical data to the common data model. This is in response to a rapid collaboration call, earlier in May, in which EHDEN made available a budget of €1 million in financial support. This initiative is aligned with the European Medicines Agency's need to expand its potential Data Partner network for current and future research for COVID-19 and wider therapeutic domains.

Over the coming year of the new project, and in parallel in EHDEN, considerable work will be undertaken to bring relevant Data Partners, acknowledged experts and contemporary research tools to bear on the ongoing pandemic, to perform a multinational pilot study, and to prepare for future waves and other pandemics.

It will be critical for the development of medicines that real world, observational research can evaluate their effectiveness, alongside repurposed drugs.