Ebola clinical trials workshop in Kinshasa
29 October 2018
Last week, Peter Horby and Emmanuelle Denis travelled to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where our ALERRT partners from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp delivered a clinical trials workshop for staff from the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale (INRB), the Congolese Ministry of Health and the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA). The workshop was funded by the Department for International Development/Wellcome Epidemic Preparedness grant. The funds are also supporting INRB with implementation of monitored emergency use of experimental drugs in patients with EVD.
With its partners in Europa and Africa, ALERRT aims to be ready to respond to any infectious disease threat in Sub-Saharan Africa, and be able to conduct research during those outbreaks. Even before its launch in December 2018, ALERRT has face multiple epidemic crises, including the plague in Madagascar, the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria and two outbreaks of Ebola in the DRC. To find out more, see this article in the EU’s Horizon Magazine, where Peter explains in more detail how ALERRT responds to outbreaks.
The current Ebola outbreak in North Kivu, DRC is now the 6th largest outbreak ever, with 267 confirmed and probable cases on the 27th of October, with most cases in Beni and Mabalako.
13 September 2018
The London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently launched the website for the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), which has more details about the UK-PHRST, past and current deployments and research projects, publications and events.
Milestone reached in the MERMAIDS-ARBO study
23 August 2018
The MERMAIDS-ARBO Study that is coordinated by ERGO has now reached over 500 recruits, which is a big step towards its recruitment goal. MERMAIDS-ARBO is focused to regions in South East Europe where the four arboviruses endemic to Europe (TBEC, WNV, TOSC, CCHFV) and with direct impact on humans have been identified, and where surveillance data shows patchy reporting.
The biggest recruiter is the South East European Centre for Infectious Diseases Suveillance Control in Tirana, Albania. The latest addition to the team is the Clinic for Infectious Disease Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For more information on MERMAIDS-ARBO and the other studies that form part of the MERMAIDS work package, visit the PREPARE website.
UK-PHRST deployment to Madagascar
30 November 2017
The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) deployed to Madagascar in October-November 2017 to help with the most recent plague outbreak.
UK Public Health Rapid Support Team deploys to Sierra Leone to help prevent disease outbreaks
21 August 2017
The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) is deploying to Sierra Leone to help reduce the risk of a disease outbreak following the deadly landslides in Freetown. The UK-PHRST team deploying includes experts in tracking the progress of an outbreak (epidemiologists) and diagnosing its cause (microbiologists), as well as a logistician.
For further information please see the following website:
UK Public Health Rapid Support Team appoints first Director
4 April 2017
Professor Daniel Bausch has been appointed Director of the new UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST). ERGO is proud to provide clinical research capabilities to this vital initiative, and the whole team looks forward to working with the new Director.
For further information, please see the following websites:
How researchers rose to the challenge of Ebola
A Times Higher Education feature looking back on the Ebola crisis of 2014 includes comment from several Oxford University researchers who helped to fight the outbreak. ERGO's Peter Horby, The Global Health Network's Trudie Lang, and the Jenner Institute's Adrian Hill are all quoted.
You can read the full article on the THE website here.
ERGO is proud to provide the clinical research capabilities in the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK PHRST)
1 November 2016
The UK PHRST will be a fully operational team of health experts who can be deployed to tackle outbreaks anywhere in the world within 48 hours. The initiative will jointly be run by Public Health England and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, with the University of Oxford and King's College London joining as academic partners. The team will respond to urgent requests from affected countries and assist in tackling the disease outbreaks together with healthcare workers from the affected country.
ERGO is looking forward to being a part of this unique team and delivering the clinical research for this important public health initiative. More information can be found on the following websites:
Clinical trial for experimental Ebola drug publishes results
20 April 2016
Results of the Wellcome Trust funded trial of the experimental anti-Ebola drug TKM-130803 have been published today in PLoS Medicine. Using a novel approach designed to get rapid indications of a drug’s effectiveness, the trial showed that at the dose given the drug did not improve survival compared to historic controls.
TKM-130803 interferes with the production of two essential Ebola virus proteins and has been shown to improve survival when given to monkeys experimentally infected with Ebola virus. Scientists from the University of Oxford and Sierra Leone worked with the humanitarian organisation GOAL Global, the World Health Organization, and collaborators from a number of other institutions to test whether TKM-130803 could improve survival in adults with Ebola infection.
The researchers used a new approach to generate early evidence of effectiveness or ineffectiveness. This method can be used as a tool to screen potential therapies and determine the need for further studies (including randomised controlled trials) during an epidemic. The approach meant that the study was quickly able to reach a pre-defined point to stop the trial.
The data from the trial will be accessible to appropriately qualified researchers by application to the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory Ebola Data Access Committee (http://www.iddo.org/).
Fast-tracking clinical research in an epidemic
17 September 2015
On 17th September a Workshop was hosted by the Epidemic diseases Research Group Oxford, which assembled over 50 individuals with first-hand experience of conducting trials of experimental therapies for Ebola. Participants included doctors, nurses, clinical trial specialists, and pharmacists who volunteered to run the trials on the ground in Ebola treatment centres in West Africa, and the ‘back-room’ team at Oxford, Médecins Sans Frontières and GOAL Global who worked tirelessly to set up the trials and support the field teams.
The overall aim of the Wellcome Trust funded project was to establish clinical trial in two or more Ebola treatment centres in West Africa through which the efficacy and safety of un-registered therapeutic products could be rapidly assessed. Against all odds the team succeeded in setting up two clinical trials, one in Liberia and one in Sierra Leone.
The conduct of clinical trials of experimental therapeutics in the midst of the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic has been an unprecedented exercise in rapid research under difficult conditions. The aim of the workshop was to reflect on this experience, capture the collective knowledge of this large and diverse group, and document what has been learnt and what could be improved. The findings of the Workshop will feed into a Rapid Research Response Framework that will detail key pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment actions that are needed to ensure a robust and safe clinical research response to epidemics of infectious diseases.
The Ebola research team were awarded special medals for their contribution to tackling the Ebola epidemic. Find out more on the Oxford University website, the Wellcome Trust website, ITV News and the Oxford Mail 1 and 2.
Professor Peter Horby recieves a medal from the Vietnam Ministry of Health
Photograph: Professor Tran Quoc Kham, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology presenting medals to Professors Heiman Wertheim and Peter Horby
Congratulations to professors Peter Horby and Heiman Wertheim who were awarded the Vietnam Ministry of Health’s Medal “For the People’s Health" at a ceremony celebrating 10 years of collaboration between the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases and the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit.
The People’s Health Medal is a top honour awarded to individuals who have made a major contribution to health in Vietnam. The medal was awarded for Professor Horby’s contribution to infectious and tropical diseases research in Vietnam since 2003 when Professor Horby started working with Vietnamese colleagues to investigate and control the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Professor Horby established the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi in January 2006. The Wellcome Trust and Nuffield Department of Medicine in the UK have been instrumental in funding the unit’s infrastructure and building it’s capacity. This has enabled it to enhance the quality of diagnosis, treatment and research into infectious diseases in Vietnam and make a positive contribution to clinical practice and health policies implemented by the Ministry of Health.
Please see the Universty of Oxford's website for more information.