Personalised Medicine (PM) is a promising new concept for dealing with challenges of health and health systems. With the launch of the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed) in 2016, which brings together health research funders, ministries and policy‐making organizations, European countries aim to coordinate research and health policy to advance the implementation of PM.
Although there is no universally accepted definition, the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group has defined PM as “a medical model using characterization of individuals’ phenotypes and genotypes (e.g. molecular profiling, medical imaging, lifestyle data) for tailoring the right therapeutic strategy for the right person at the right time, and/or to determine the predisposition to disease and/or to deliver timely and targeted prevention“. This definition was also used by European Union (EU) Health Ministers in their Council conclusions on PM for patients, published in December 2015 . The medical approach that PM encompasses, based mainly, but not only, on the use of genetic-genomic data from patients and population for medical use, is also referred to as “precision medicine”, “stratified medicine”, “individualized medicine”, “genomic medicine”, “pharmacogenomics” and “P4 medicine” (for personalized, predictive, preventive, and participatory) (Nimmesgern, E., et al 2017).
In order to support the objective of encouraging the integration of non-EU countries in ICPerMed, and following the challenges and scopes defined in the topicActions in support of the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine, the EU-Africa PerMed project has the final objective of integrating African countries into ICPerMed activities as a means to contribute to a successful implementation of PM in the global context, fostering joint PM projects and programmes between Europe and Africa, as well as strengthening bilateral EU-AU science, technology and innovation (STI) relations in the area of health. On the long run, incorporating African countries in the global personalized medicine research agenda can contribute to shortening the existing health disparities between developed and developing countries, as well as facilitating the access of African countries to new tools and technologies that have the potential to make health care more efficient and equitable.
The COVID-19 pandemic represents vast health and safety risks, forcing most of us to a sudden and rapid reconsideration of our current and future plans, work activities and a way of life in general. The EU-Africa PerMed project cannot be a bystander of this new scenario. As stated by the United Nations, Science and technology are essential to humanity’s collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while rapid and ready access to research results and data is fuelling collaborations in a decentralized way, more coordinated multi-stakeholder and multilateral efforts are also needed to accelerate progress towards practical solutions and, when these become available, ensure universal access to them . The project proposes to incorporate issues related to the COVID-19 in all its planned activities. While keeping its focus on the main objectives of the project, we will take advantage of the multi-stakeholder, multinational and multidisciplinary collaborative platform that will be created during the implementation of the project, to contribute as much as possible to the global effort to address the new health challenges posed by the COVID-19 and to aid in preparedness for future pandemics.
 UN/DESA Policy Brief #62: The COVID-19 pandemic: a wake-up call for better cooperation at the science–policy–society interface. 22 April 2020. https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-62-the-covid-19-pandemic-a-wake-up-call-for-better-cooperation-at-the-science-policy-society-interface/