As a result of the call this year, nine new sites joined DRIVE as Research Collaborators. In total, 15 sites applied for the position. The sites selected were evaluated to possess the ability to fill knowledge gaps or, regarding sample size, had the best capabilities.

This is the second season where organizations interested in studying brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness were invited to join the growing DRIVE consortium through an annual call for tenders, this time commencing for the 2019/20 influenza season.

The call was open to research institutes and networks, inviting them to join new efforts to increase the understanding of influenza vaccine effectiveness in Europe. The next call will be open to any European organization, starting in spring 2020.

The DRIVE Research Collaborators will be compensated for sharing data from existing studies, as well as contributing to innovative approaches in developing estimates for brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness for all brands used in Europe each season.

Sites without established vaccine effectiveness studies are also eligible to apply for funds and technical assistance to develop new study capacity.

The DRIVE network consists of 15 Consortium Partners from 8 European countries including: public health institutions; universities; small and medium-sized enterprises; industry; and patient organizations. Currently, DRIVE counts on 13 study sites based on four types of designs: test-negative design in primary care; test-negative design in hospitals; register based cohort studies; and clinical cohort studies.

New Scientific Project Manager for DRIVE

In addition to new sites, the DRIVE consortium has a new Scientific Project Manager. Dr. Cintia Muñoz Quiles has a PhD in Biology and has previously worked in Neuroscience Research for more than 12 years. Since 2015, she has been a lead researcher (PI) in vaccinology, conducting epidemiological observational studies using real world data.

Cintia stated the following, “After five years of working on infectious diseases epidemiology and vaccines using healthcare databases, DRIVE represents the unique opportunity to work on the development of a governance model through public-private partnership to build a sustainable study platform to enable brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness studies. For me it is both an enormous challenge and a great honor.”