COVID-AuRA Translate project

COVID-AuRA Translate

An accelerator for developing new diagnostic, prognostic and treatment solutions against SARS-CoV-2 infections, leveraging understanding of host response mechanisms.

A Unique Public-Private Multidisciplinary Consortium Federating Global Pharmaceutical Companies, Local University Hospitals and Research Centers, to Fight against Current and Future Pandemics

The intent of the Covid-AuRA Translate consortium is to support healthcare solution providers in theirs needs for developing and proposing solutions emerging from the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. The project is uniquely designed from the ground up as a joint translational research program, aimed at answering questions of interest expressed by three major healthcare companies strongly supporting the initiative: bioMérieux, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Sanofi-Pasteur.

It is also a prefiguration of a public-private joint response initiative against future pandemic pathogens. Four local University Hospitals (Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand) have joined forces to provide key clinical data and biological samples while managing the pandemic Impact of health system and severe Covid patients in their ICUs. The initiative is also supported by several organizations investing in Health and Research: Bullukian Foundation, Finovi Foundation, Institut Mérieux and Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, through FEDER European Structural Funds.

BIOASTER, the French Technological Research Institute dedicated to Microbiology and Infectiology, is the coordinator of the project, which emerged from discussions between BIOASTER’s stakeholders. They entrusted BIOASTER with co-designing an ambitious public-private project, leveraging local skills and capacities, and bringing in key additional skills, for instance Pr. Arnaud Marchand’s team at Université Libre de Bruxelles: thus was born the Covid-AuRA Translate project.

BIOASTER will guarantee that all data and protocols will be produced and shared in a robust and reliable way: all partners will be able to use rapidly and efficiently the results of the joint project. The expected 1800 collected samples will indeed generate a large amount of data, through complex longitudinal transcriptomic and bioinformatics analyzes which will be performed by BIOASTER, both in humans and in preclinical models adapted to industrial needs in the context of infection with SARS-CoV2 variants. Besides, BIOASTER utilizes its BSL3 lab for the standardized production of SARS-CoV2 and its variants.

Through Covid-AuRA Translate, BIOASTER will mobilize its existing tools and capacities to acquire major skills in the field of vaccinology system.

The project aims at developing an educated approach toward prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of Covid-19 disease from naïve to critical care patients. It provides a comprehensive response through an integrative use of ongoing clinical studies and associated clinical samples. It allows a harmonized and standardized approach for data generation and analyses to remove potential bias of laboratories and populations variability.

Covid-AuRA Translate will allow immune profiles comparison of moderately affected subjects with patients suffering from a severe form of the disease, starting from the early stages of the infection. This comparison represents an opportunity to:

  • Anticipate next generation vaccine strategies (e.g. “flu-like” strategy based on seasonality and variants?)
  • Identify biomarkers and diagnostic tools for patient stratification (e.g. disease severity prediction? Vaccine patients’ stratification?)
  • Identify host molecular targets for symptomatic treatments (e.g. fibrosis treatment?)
  • Contribute to the identification of efficient screening or repurposing strategies for antiviral molecules.


Covid-AuRA Translate has a budget of nearly € 4.5 million and is divided into 4 interdependent workstreams:

  • Setting up a biobank of samples from asymptomatic, moderate and severe Covid-19 patients, relying in particular on the clinical study capacities of hospitals, which will follow patients over a long period (up to two years),
  • Molecular studies of disease physiopathology and immune response mechanisms, also based on the results of other scientific work carried out in the area (RICO cohort of Lyon University Hospital, REALISM project led by BIOASTER),
  • Development of pre-clinical rodent models adapted to different viral strains, with VetAgroSup,
  • Dissemination and communication of the results to local and international scientific communities and private companies (including SMEs).


This unique Public-Private Multidisciplinary Consortium will pave the way for novel R&D models of joint responses against future pandemic threats.

COVID-AuRA Translate is co-financed by the ERDF as part of the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Start of the Covid AuRA translate’s project


Lancé au cœur de la pandémie de SARS-CoV-2, le projet #CovidAuRaTranslate regroupe des acteurs public/privé régionaux BIOASTER Sanofi bioMérieux Boehringer Ingelheim  Hospices Civils de Lyon – HCL CHU Grenoble Alpes CHU de Clermont-Ferrand CHU de Saint-Etienne Lyonbiopôle Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes dans le cadre d’un programme de recherche de deux ans sur la COVID-19.

Arrivé à son terme en cette fin d’année 2023, ce projet ambitieux a permis de :

  • Fédérer les acteurs académiques, hospitaliers et industriels majeurs de l’infectiologie de la région
  • Créer une biobanque d’échantillons pour comprendre les facteurs de risques individuels et identifier des schémas de vaccination optimaux
  • Développer un modèle infectieux préclinique pour tester des traitements thérapeutiques ou prophylactiques

💻Plus d’infos sur le projet et les témoignages de partenaires du projet :

Ce projet a été soutenu financièrement par l’Union européenne via les fonds FEDER – ainsi que la  Fondation Bullukian  la Fondation #Finovi et l’ INSTITUT MÉRIEUX