December 2018

Research Funders Role for Ebola in DRC

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to devastate communities in Eastern DRC and draw international attention due to the increasing number of cases, the associated deaths, the fact that it’s in a conflict zone and the potential for national and regional spread. Positively, investigational vaccines and therapeutics are being used for the first time at scale. Also, preparedness efforts in neighboring countries are ongoing, including vaccinating health workers as a preventive measure. Despite this progress, the scientific community has stressed that funds are vital to intensify the current response and invest in social science and technological research for the long-term.

A quick response to outbreaks is essential, but research is the bedrock of an effective one. Until we find a mechanism to support research and development related to future epidemics and have the flexibility to respond immediately, the world will remain very vulnerable. The ability to respond needs to be more dynamic than the epidemic itself – there is little value and no comfort in saying we can respond in a year if an epidemic is over in 6 months.  GloPID-R exists to be the mechanism that can provide that value and comfort. It is an international network of research funders whose work is to prepare for epidemics and facilitate the necessary funding in response to them.

This was the case with EVD in DRC. In fact, GloPID-R Members mobilized funding in response to the epidemic in May 2018 in less than an hour of being asked. Together we also made an international public call for data sharing during Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) with many GloPID-R partners and leading scientific institutions as signatories.

A rapid outbreak response also requires an international, multi-sector coordinated effort. To this end, GloPID-R regularly communicates with other institutions and organizations, including the WHO, MSF, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), ALIMA, ALERRT, PREPARE, the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR), and others to exchange information and find potential areas for collaboration. Recently, GloPID-R and the Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-)emerging Epidemics (PREPARE) co-hosted an international meeting on conducting clinical trials during infectious disease outbreaks. Events like these need sustainable funding because they highlight challenges and find solutions.

No simple solution exists for EVD – or any other epidemic, for that matter. However, as research funders we can prioritize funding for vaccines, treatments, public health, and social science. We can help ensure that rapid research conducted during an epidemic is conducted in an ethical and sound manner. We must commit to work in partnership with countries to strengthen their universal health systems and research capacities. EVD in DRC has demonstrated that the work we do today can have an effect for the work that will be needed tomorrow.

GloPID-R remains committed to finding ways to quickly deploying funding for the most needed research today while also supporting health systems and preparing research priorities for the inevitable epidemics of the future.

Best Regards,

Jeremy Farrar
GloPID-R Vice-Chair

GloPID-R activities

Clinical Trial Networks (CTN)

For this edition’s Clinical Trial Network (CTN) member highlight, we’re delighted to share PREPARE’s work in how they are laying the groundwork for a rapid response during an infectious disease outbreak.

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Data Sharing Working Group

A new project digging into different funder policies related to data sharing during public health emergencies and an in-depth analysis on data sharing during ID outbreaks.

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Member Highlight

For this month’s member highlight, we’re pleased to share the work of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).

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GLOPID-R Member Activities

Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)

The 2nd Brazil-Japan Collaborative Research Workshop on Zika virus was held at National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Tokyo, Japan on July 26, 2018.

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Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)

From advancing vaccine candidates to funding the development of new platform technologies, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is an initiative on the move.

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Medical Research Council (MRC)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) shares the results of its Environmental and Social Ecology of Human Infectious Diseases Initiative. It funded three large interdisciplinary teams to carry out studies that explore key drivers of change in zoonotic diseases in three continents.

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Wellcome Trust (Wellcome)

Photographers and other image makers from all disciplines are invited to enter the Wellcome Photography Prize (overall winner £15,000).

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Funding calls

European Commission (Horizon 2020 framework programme)

  • Topic: Mining big data for early detection of infectious disease threats driven by climate change and other factors
  • Budget: 30M €
  • Deadline: April 16, 2019

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European Commission (Horizon 2020 framework programme)

  • Topic: Towards a next generation influenza vaccine to protect citizens worldwide – an EU-India collaboration
  • Budget: 15M €
  • Deadline: April 16, 2019

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Upcoming events

European Clinical Research Alliance on Infectious Diseases (ECRAID)

Brussels, Belgium
January 17, 2019

International Lassa Fever Conference

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

Abuja, Nigeria
16-17 January 2019

Topics in Infection 2019

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (RSTMH)

London, UK
25 January 2019

48th Critical Care Congress

Society of Critical Care Medicine

San Diego, USA
17-20 February 2019

EU Flag

The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.