A year ago, as part of the EIB Group’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, the EIB Institute made a €1 million donation, the largest ever made by the EIB Group.

Half of the donation supported well-known, not-for-profit EU research institutes’ research and development efforts to fight COVID-19: The Foundation for Polish Science allocated funds it received to Professor Marcin Drąg’s laboratory (Wrocław University of Science and Technology), which identified the enzyme (protease) necessary for the coronavirus to multi-ply. Blocking the action of this enzyme causes the virus to die. The discovery is extremely important to developing a quick diagnostic test and a cure for COVID-19.

The Karolinska Institute in Sweden decided to split the donation between purchasing equipment and reagents and to help fund a project to make SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein production possible. It also dedicated funds to a programme to combat mental health problems and suicides on the rise during the pandemic.

Institut Pasteur of France used it to develop diagnostic and serological tests as well as for therapeutic strategies for treating or preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and the National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Lazzaro Spallanzani, in Italy, allocated the money to a research project on “Evaluation of the activation/exhaustion profile of T cells, cytotoxic capacity and cytokine production.”

The other half of the donation helped to support initiatives by UNICEF, the Red Cross, Fondation de France, Save The Children, and SOS Villages d’Enfants and to address the consequences of the pandemic one of some of society’s most fragile groups.