GloPID-R quickly mobilized to respond to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that started in May 2018. Working in coordination with WHO, GloPID-R Members the Wellcome Trust (WT) and Department for International Development (DFID) made funding available 48 hours after the initial announcement.
On May 8, 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the DRC informed the WHO that of five laboratory samples tested, two tested positive for Ebola. Peter Salama, the WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response, reported on a total of 66 cases, including 28 deaths, as of June 9, 2018. This Ebola outbreak is particularly concerning due to the difficulty of delivering vaccines in remote areas, and the cases occurring in urban, highly populated centers.
Since the outbreak was declared, GloPID-R has focused its efforts to secure a rapid and coordinated response of research funders, aligned with the WHO’s action plan.
Dr Jeremy Farrar, GloPID-R Vice Chair, Director of Wellcome Trust, stressed “the value and importance of international partnership and working together in the DRC.”
With multiple Ebola research projects already on-going, it was important to identify and map the situation: GloPID-R carried out this review and shared it with other funders and the WHO. By rapidly cross-sharing information, GloPID-R members can concentrate on providing the necessary funding to the new research projects of utmost priority.
GloPID-R has also made data sharing during epidemics one of its priorities and the Wellcome Trust is leading a call to research funders, scientific journals and NGOs to sign a statement on sharing research findings relevant to the Ebola outbreak in the DRC.
Because major research funders are working together, Ebola in the DRC will get the needed research to deliver the necessary diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics to vulnerable populations.