ORCHESTRA continues to shape the future of pandemic research after three-year journey
ORCHESTRA started in December 2020, pooling European knowledge and resources to seek medical solutions to the most critical challenges posed by the pandemic. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, ORCHESTRA has evolved into a robust multinational network, led by University of Verona with 37 partners from 15 countries collaborating closely. This year’s annual partner meeting on November 7th, 2023, reaffirmed the profound impact of collective endeavors, with a review of its accomplishments and prospects in a collaborative meeting that highlighted the dedication of its participants.
Over the past three years, ORCHESTRA has made significant progress, with 85 studies submitted, 66 deliverables completed, and 81 milestones achieved. Additionally, nearly 20 abstracts were accepted for presentation last year. Prof. Evelina Tacconelli, leader of the ORCHESTRA project, emphasized the importance of data harmonization in overcoming challenges across participating countries. ORCHESTRA’s ability to bring together different cohorts for meta-analysis has proven invaluable, offering a wide range of insights beyond individual cohort capabilities. ORCHESTRA’s research has focused on different levels, conducting studies within fragile populations and healthcare worker cohorts, providing valuable insights into public health measures and their impact. The project also delves into the long-term sequelae of COVID-19, specifically regarding the systematic review of risks associated with long COVID. Recent work, published in a clinical magazine, identified four distinct clusters within post-COVID-19 syndrome, each affecting quality of life differently. This achievement reflects the collaborative efforts within ORCHESTRA and its role in advancing pandemic research.
The project is now entering a new extension phase, characterized by enhanced partnerships and an abundance of available data. New objectives include an analysis of the quality and kinetics of long-term immune responses to COVID-19 vaccination in fragile patients, which holds promise for optimizing vaccination strategies. The project also commits to refining the definition of severe long COVID, extending follow-up periods, and further improving the classification of post-COVID-19 syndrome. Additional deliverables encompass an examination of long-term psychological consequences related to COVID-19 and comprehensive analyses of breakthrough infections and serological responses in healthcare workers, all contributing to a better understanding of the pandemic’s enduring impact.
During this extended phase, ORCHESTRA will maintain its data infrastructure and intensify efforts in data harmonization, collection, extraction, and analysis.
As ORCHESTRA continues its research and collaborates with diverse cohorts, its mission to inform policy decisions and enhance the lives of individuals affected by COVID-19 remains evident.