As vaccinations for COVID-19 will start in Sweden in early 2021, likely with several types of vaccines, SciLifeLab and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation are preparing to launch a program that will enable scientists to study the efficacy and molecular effects of vaccinations.
While all the vaccines to be utilized in Sweden have undergone thorough clinical studies, there are still important questions – such as the molecular effects underlying the protection and the durability – which this program can address. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation allocates 40 MSEK to the program.
“COVID-19 is a new, and still in many ways, unknown disease. It is important that as many aspects as possible of the disease and ways to fight it are explored both because of the current situation but also to prepare us for future pandemics. For the Foundation, it was therefore a logical decision to also allocate funds to study the effects of the vaccinations that will be carried out next year, says Peter Wallenberg Jr,” chair of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, in a press release.
Exploring vaccine effects through a team science and open data approach
Using a team science approach, the program will focus on exploring protective effectiveness and adverse reactions, cellular and molecular immunological effects, and correlates between protection or adverse reactions and immune response profiles. Furthermore, the concepts of open data and open science will be key to the program, where all data should be handled accordingly with the FAIR principles and both data and samples made available for real-time monitoring of vaccination effects or additional studies.
”We are very excited and thankful to be chosen as a site coordinating the major contributions to research on vaccinations from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. We think that this program is extremely timely and will enable scientists in Sweden to explore the efficacy and molecular effects of vaccination, now that several new vaccines will be available for use in Sweden starting early 2021. Though all the vaccines being deployed will have undergone thorough clinical studies on tens of thousands of people, there are still important questions on e.g. the durability and molecular effects underlying the protection, which this program can now address. The Foundation’s funds will be made available to the community as grants, available to qualified scientists across the country, based on peer review,” says Olli Kallioniemi, director of SciLifeLab, in the press release.
Call for proposals launched together with four other calls on COVID-19 research
Applications to the program will be made through an open call for proposals, launching shortly along with four other calls; two that represent the continuation of the ongoing KAW-supported SciLifeLab coordinated COVID-19 research program, initiated in the spring of 2020; one that focuses on suggestions for ideas on pandemic preparedness; and one on suggestions for data-driven research on COVID-19. Stay tuned for more information!