Network

REACTing – Research and ACTion targeting emerging infectious disease

  • Coordination: Eric d’Ortenzio
  • Geographic range: France, Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean (Currently open to geographic expansion)
  • Members: See full list

About

REACTing is a network of French research organizations, coordinated by Inserm, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. Its activity covers the geographical range of France, Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

REACTing has coordinated a number of studies in recent years, from Chikungunya in the Caribbean to multiple aspects of study on Zika virus, Ebola virus disease and Lassa fever in West Africa, plague in Madagascar and others. In collaboration with other partners, the network is currently implementing an Ebola vaccine study in West Africa. Due to its extensive experience in West Africa, REACTing has learned a great deal about social science and community engagement during outbreaks.

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Overall goal

To prepare and coordinate research to more effectively control unforeseeable emerging infectious threats. This is to be achieved through multi-disciplinary collaboration and keeping a broad scope, from basic research to the human and social sciences, including environmental sciences, epidemiology and public health.

Objectives

REACTing objectives are organized around its two main missions: to prepare and respond to emerging infectious epidemic threats.

  • REACTing strives to improve research planning in inter-epidemic periods. This includes governance, preparation of research tools, the identification of research priorities and key scientists working within the field of emerging diseases, the identification of funding opportunities and the preparation of ethical, regulatory and methodological aspects essential to preparing for research projects to be set up during a health emergency. REACTing also monitors a number of ongoing projects and clinical studies.
  • Maintaining strong national and international collaborations including nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), and integrating within international networks are also integral aspects of the preparation.
  • Integrating research during the outbreak response is essential to prepare for future outbreaks and an ethical obligation to help improve patient care during crises. To this effect, REACTing stimulates the establishment of research projects during periods of epidemic crisis, including its coordination, the identification of scientific and strategic priorities, providing methodological and data assistance, and informing the authorities and general public. REACTing also supports public decision-making and asserts the place of research in the response to health crises alongside healthcare, logistics, safety and geopolitical aspects.

Activities

Since 2013, REACTing has coordinated the French research response during several infectious disease epidemics.

Among others, REACTing has put in place in Guinea a clinical trial (JIKI) evaluating favipiravir in the treatment of Ebola virus disease. REACTing has also supported studies in social sciences and studies of local reservoirs to enhance our understanding of the transmission patterns of the virus. Once the epidemic drew to a close, REACTing followed up by supporting the establishment of a cohort of Ebola virus disease survivors.

During Lassa outbreaks (Togo in 2017 and Nigeria in 2018), REACTing has been active in supporting the establishment of research proposals. This has led to the establishment of a REACTing working group on Viral haemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and CCHF), which aims at identifying research priorities and developing collaborative research projects with REACTing’s local partners. REACTing has co-funded the establishment of a prospective Lassa cohort.

Clinical trials

PREVAC

  • Start date: 27/03/2017
  • Expected end date: end 2018
  • Research question: The trial compares three experimental Ebola vaccination strategies with placebos, in order to determine whether these strategies are safe and able to trigger a durable immune response that can protect against Ebola virus disease.
  • Related outbreak: Ebola, West Africa
  • Study design: Phase 2 randomized clinical trial
  • Target number of inclusions: 5,500 (over 1-year of age)
  • Expected outcome: The primary immunogenicity endpoint is the GP-EBOV antibody response 12 months after randomization
  • Open access to protocol: Read more
  • Other information: Partnership between:
  • Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm)
  • US National institutes of Health (NIH)
  • London school of hygiene and tropical medicine (LSHTM)
  • Health authorities of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
  • Non-governmental organisation Alima
  • Pharma companies Merck and Janssen

Capacity building

REACTing supports capacity building of its local partners throughout its implemented projects.

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