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EURAMET & it's European Metrology Research Programmes: supporting the COVID-19 pandemic response
During the last year, the world was witness to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In a short space of time, we have all had to adapt to the changes brought by this public health crisis to many aspects of our lives.
As the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear early in 2020, EURAMET has sought to assess the ways in which joint research projects under its past and present research programmes, as well as the metrology community overall, had been contributing to the pandemic response.
At present, countries across the globe are experiencing different stages of the wave of the infection, leading to varying levels of government-enforced lockdown restraints that are influenced by the rate of accrual of new infections.
To delineate true cases from other ‘flu-like’ symptoms, reliable testing has been essential, and now with the development of vaccines and their gradual distribution to people most at risk, there are new and evolving measurement challenges facing healthcare systems around the world.
EURAMET has played its part in supporting European research efforts with testing for the virus, industry recovery from the pandemic, and the accurate delivery of vital medications to critically ill patients in hospitals.
COVID-19 News Updates:
EMPIR research enables measurement community response to COVID-19 diagnostics
Over the last decade, EURAMET has funded several EMRP and EMPIR projects to support clinicians with the accurate detection of infectious diseases. However, ensuring the reproducibility and consistency of testing remains somewhat of a healthcare measurement challenge; in our current pandemic, presenting itself through positive COVID-19 patients and carriers going undetected.
To aid the global clinical community at this urgent time, the European measurement community has built on previous research to improve international standardisation for coronavirus testing.
EMPIR project responds to COVID-19 diagnostic needs
As a life-threatening reaction to infectious diseases, sepsis is responsible for around 700,000 deaths per year in Europe alone.
At EURAMET, the EMPIR project ‘SEPTIMET’ has been developing procedures for new and currently-used biomarkers to improve the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. Recently, outcomes of this project have been utilised to manage the diagnosis of coronavirus patients as well.
Software developed in EMPIR project is used to test face masks
As we adapt to our post-COVID-19 world, European research remains focused on improving the effectiveness of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare staff.
At EURAMET, an EMPIR project (‘CAsoft’) has helped to develop a software tool for the conformance testing of measurement devices. This tool is currently in use at the French national measurement institute (LNE) to test the filtration efficiency of face masks.
EMPIR project supports hospitals’ response to COVID-19
Infusion therapy is the most commonly used technology for drug delivery in hospitals around the world. However, the adoption of new measures during this pandemic, such as the use of extension tubing to position infusion pumps outside rooms, has the potential to create errors associated with the infusion-based delivery of vital drugs.
EMPIR project ‘MEDDII’ is playing an important role here, helping to identify and resolve issues related to new drug infusion practises that are being employed at this time.
Towards the beginnings of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, research efforts were focused on improving the accuracy of clinical diagnostics for detecing the virus.
The EMPIR project ‘Bio-stand’ provided essential support to the European measurement community at this time, by developing 3 standards for the accurate counting of biological entities needed to diagnose respiratory infections. Importantly, project outcomes supported the implementation of quality assurance procedures for UK field labs testing for COVID-19.
TraceLabMed and EMPIR projects make vital contributions to COVID-19 testing
European metrology institutes from EURAMET’s TraceLabMed network are providing essential support for both viral and antibody testing for COVID-19.
EURAMET projects like ‘AntiMicroResist’ and ‘Bio-stand’ have brought together the collaborative power of metrology researchers to develop inter-laboratory comparison methods and new standards to support the implementation and evaluation of COVID-19 testing techniques. TraceLabMed members have also joined forces in inter-laboratory studies for measuring the SARS-CoV-2 genome and for validating antibody tests.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in many ways, including the accelerated digital transformation of industries and society. As governments and businesses increase budgets for digitalisation, there is a need for metrology to meet the pace of rapidly evolving digital infrastructure.
EMPIR project ‘Metrology for the Factory of the Future’ is helping metrology facilities to become digital ready, as well as laying a solid foundation for the European-wide digital transformation of industries.
EMPIR project develops a new method in the fight against antibiotic resistance
Bacteria are the most successful organisms on the planet. In fact, the resistance of bacterial communities to antimicrobial drugs is responsible for around 25,000 deaths a year, where gram-negative bacteria play a huge role.
Due to the tendency of gram-negative bacteria to attach to surfaces as ‘biofilms’, several existing analysis methods cannot be utilised - and so EMPIR project ‘MetVBadBugs’ is developing a new analytical technique to address this challenge.
In intensive care units, infusion methods are used on a daily basis to provide vital drugs to patients. In fact, the safe delivery of medications to critically ill patients requires a very slow and steady supply of fluids, where infusion pump set ups are essential.
To improve the efficiency and precision of such procedures, particularly for infant care in neonatal hospital wards, EURAMET projects ‘MeDD’ and ‘InfusionUptake’ are focusing their efforts on reducing dosing errors and optimising the use of multi-infusion pumps for intravenous (IV) therapies.
EURAMET research leads to continuing improvements for intravenous drug delivery
Vital drugs are delivered to patients using infusion methods every day in hospitals around the world. However, this extensive use can lead to dosing errors – with the potential to harm patients at risk.
To improve the accuracy of life-saving drug delivery methods, the on-going EMPIR project ‘MEDDII’ has helped to investigate multi-infusion systems, helping to bridge knowledge gaps in infusion therapy fields.
The aviation industry is just one of many sectors of the European economy that is having to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As it begins to adapt to a post-pandemic world, the industry is looking for cost savings and manufacturing efficiency options, with adaptable manufacturing and flexible automation offering the most effective solutions for responding to rapidly changing consumer demands.
By delivering factory-wide metrology networks and error compensations for large machine tools, the EMPIR project ‘LaVA’ is providing critical support to the European aviation industry as it transitions to Industry 4.0 and factories of the future.
**EMPIR is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.
*EMRP has been jointly funded by the EMRP participating countries within EURAMET and the European Union.
EURAMET’s European Metrology Network for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (EMN TraceLabMed, TLM) was established to support the validity of in vitro diagnostics that affect medical decisions made over a patient’s entire lifetime.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, TLM members have provided immense support to healthcare systems, providing expertise for diagnostic medical devices and tests, and supporting the development of infection diagnostic capabilities.
World Health Day 2020
Last year, on 7 April 2020, the UN’s annual World Health Day provided the signficant opportunity for world leaders to recognise the immense efforts of nurses and midwives during our global pandemic.
During a year where healthcare systems were facing incredible pressures, health-based research that focused on improving the efficiency and quality of services was ever more paramount, and EURAMET's community played its own part in developing innovative metrology solutions to address global healthcare challenges.
To learn more, see our World Health Day webpage from last year >>