Cohort Coordination Board (CCB) attends the latest Network of Experts on Long COVID (NELC) meeting.

On the 26th of June, Prof. Evelina Tacconelli, Chair of the Cohort Coordination Board (CCB), was invited to attend the regular meeting of the Network of Experts on Long COVID (NELC). She presented an overview of the CCB, including its composition and objectives, before discussing recommendations of specific research priorities for Long COVID, from the members of the CCB. One of the main recommendations was the need for an infrastructure that runs both clinical trials and cohort studies in unison, and a mechanism that can support the coordination of existing cohorts and trials. She then presented CoMeCT, the COrdination MEchanism for Cohorts and Trials, within which the CCB sits. CoMeCT, through the alignment of and collaboration between cohort studies and clinical trials, aims to enhance Europe’s clinical research preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential. 

The Cohort Coordination Board (CCB), coordinated by the ID-CARE team at the University of Verona, is a forum that brings together cohort-based COVID-19 research projects across Europe alongside representatives from the European Commission, EMA, ECDC and EFPIA. It aims to encourage knowledge-sharing between cohort-based research projects to facilitate partnerships, find solutions to common challenges and reduce overlap between projects. During the CCB’s monthly meetings, members and external experts are invited to present new initiatives, share preliminary results and discuss challenges. Originally managed under the auspices of the Horizon 2020 ORCHESTRA project, the CCB has since been included into the Horizon Europe VERDI and CoMeCT projects. The figure below shows the timeline of the various projects, and how one lead to another, starting with the Trial Coordination Board (TCB) in July 2020.

The Network of Expertise on Long COVID (NELC) under the Commission Expert Group on Public Health (PHEG) was set up by DG SANTE in 2023 to bring together national centres of expertise to advise on ways to strengthen EU- and national-level responses to long COVID. The NELC provides a platform for exchanges of national experiences on diagnosis, treatment and management of long COVID, and will also collect information regarding the situation on long COVID in different EU countries.

The meeting had a particular focus on how we can better hear from and support patients, and better understand the impact on mental health and wellbeing, and Long COVID in elderly and paediatric populations. The meeting was a great opportunity for the CCB to express their understandings of Long COVID so far, and their concerns. It also provided a great insight into the work being done at the European Commission for Long COVID and pandemic preparedness.