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EDCTP contribution to epidemic preparedness: consortia ALERRT and PANDORA-ID-NET

15 March 2018

At the 1st International Conference on (Re-)Emerging Infectious Diseases(ICREID) which took place in Addis Ababa on 12-14 March 2018, a symposium was dedicated to two EDCTP-funded epidemic research preparedness consortia: the African coaLition for Epidemic Research, Response and Training (ALERRT), and the Pan-African Network for Rapid Research, Response, Relief and Preparedness for Infectious Diseases Epidemics (PANDORA-ID-NET).

Funding of EUR 20 million contributed by the European Union through Horizon 2020 and three EDCTP Participating States – Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom – enabled EDCTP to support these consortia. The ALERRT project began on 1 December 2017 and had its launch meeting in Addis Ababa on 10-11 March 2018. The PANDORA-ID-NET project started on 1 March 2018, with grant budgets of EUR 9,999,393.75 and EUR 9,997,501.25, respectively.

EDCTP was represented at the conference by its High Representative for Africa, Dr Leonardo Simão, and Jean Marie Vianney Habarugira, the Project Officer responsible for ALERRT and PANDORA-ID-NET. Dr Leonardo Simão participated in a panel discussion titled “Is Africa Prepared?”, where he outlined the expected outcomes and impact from the two EDCTP research preparedness consortia. At the symposium, a panel comprising Professor Peter Horby (ALERRT Coordinator), Professor Francine Ntoumi (PANDORA-ID-NET Coordinator) and Dr John Nkengasong (Director of Africa CDC) highlighted this European-African initiative to tackle disease epidemics.

The 1st International Conference on (Re-)Emerging Infectious Diseases(ICREID) was organised by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the continental body responsible for coordinating public health emergency response. ALERRT and PANDORA-ID-NET will contribute to the efforts across the continent, collaborating with emergency response teams that are being set up by Africa CDC in different regions.

Funding the ALERRT and PANDORA-ID-NET consortia resulted from the EDCTP call for proposals “Research and clinical management of patients in PRD epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa”. The aim was to establish a multidisciplinary consortium, able to provide accelerated evidence for the optimal clinical management of patients, and for guiding the public health response to severe infectious outbreaks. It targeted pathogens within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme with pandemic potential or that might cause significant damage to health and socio-economics in Africa (including antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

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The EDCTP programme is supported under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.