Asthma experts from across Europe are uniting as part of a new partnership launched this week to tackle Europe’s high asthma prevalence and death rates.
The European Asthma Research and Innovation partnership (EARIP) aims to reduce asthma deaths in the continent by 25% within 10 years and by 50% within 20 years. The partnership, which is co-ordinated by leading patient charity Asthma UK, also aims to halve hospital admission rates, speed up the discovery of new treatments and improve self-management.
It is estimated that 30 million people in Europe are currently living with asthma, and 15,000 people die each year from asthma attacks in the continent. Fourteen EU countries feature in the top 20 worst countries globally for asthma prevalence in adults.
ELF Chair, Monica Fletcher, said: “Asthma affects people of all ages in all countries. We have seen from new data highlighted in the European Lung White Book that asthma rates are staggeringly high in Europe. The EARIP project aims to combat this challenge. By bringing together expertise from across Europe, we can create a ‘road map’ to define and prioritise what is needed to reduce asthma deaths and hospitalisations in all EU member states to ensure that we improve the lives of people living with this condition.”
Dr Samantha Walker, Deputy Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said: “Asthma outcomes in Europe are unacceptably poor. Between now and 2020, if no major breakthroughs in research and the management of asthma are made, about 120,000 people in Europe will die as a result of asthma attacks, and 4 million will be hospitalised.
“We now have the opportunity to change this. By coordinating asthma priorities and activities at a pan-European level, this partnership will channel the collective expertise of world-leading asthma experts, bringing it together around a common goal.”
Funded by the European Commission, EARIP seeks to tackle the barriers currently preventing the reduction of Europe’s asthma burden. These barriers include:
The partnership will identify key gaps in asthma knowledge and aims to address these by pioneering an integrated approach to research, development and innovation across Europe, ranging from basic cell science to improving healthcare systems. Ultimately the aim is to ensure that the outcomes from knowledge-based asthma research will quickly result in an improved quality of life for people with asthma.
Over the next three years, the partnership will bring together asthma experts from research institutes, non-profit bodies and businesses across Europe, including policymakers, researchers, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies and people with asthma. Together, they will create a ‘road map’ to define and prioritise what is needed to reduce asthma deaths and hospitalisations in all EU member states.
Professor Nikos Papadopoulos, President of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said: “This funding is a catalyst for change in the field of asthma research; it sets the stage for galvanising expertise and fast-tracking a solution to the immense social and economic burden of asthma in Europe.”
Professor Papadopoulos, who also represents the University of Athens, one of the 12 lead partners in EARIP, added: “We are also laying the foundation for Europe to become more globally competitive in the development of research and innovation to successfully tackle asthma across the world.”
Partners and stakeholders in the EARIP project kicked off their planned series of summits and prioritisation debates at this week’s European Respiratory Society Annual Congress.
Notes to Editors
What is EARIP?
EARIP is a co-ordinated and integrated approach to asthma research, development and innovation across Europe ranging from basic cell science to improving healthcare systems.
It will bring together asthma experts from across Europe to define what’s needed to reduce asthma deaths and hospitalisations in all EU member states.
It is supported by the European Commission and will run over a three year period.
Activities include workshops, prioritisation exercises, consensus strategies and the development and publication of a set of recommendations about what is needed.
These will result in a comprehensive ‘roadmap’ of asthma priorities in Europe that can be used by clinicians, researchers, industry, patient groups to lobby for change and to persuade EU funding policy makers to invest in asthma.
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