Today, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases poses a global health threat that can only be tackled through international collaborative efforts. This is all the more true in the African continent where recent outbreaks have highlighted the need to rapidly implement clinical studies in support of control efforts.
To address this challenge, a new clinical research and response network has been launched with the aim to reduce the health and socio-economic impact of disease outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa. The African coaLition for Epidemic Research, Response and Training (ALERRT) combines the strengths of 21 leading African and European partner organisations, 6 of them belonging to the Institut Pasteur International Network - Centre Pasteur du Cameroun, Institut Pasteur de Bangui ; Institut Pasteur de Côte d’Ivoire ; Institut Pasteur de Dakar ; Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Institut Pasteur (Paris).
Supported by a €10 million grant from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, ALERRT will build a sustainable clinical and laboratory research preparedness and response network to rapidly design and implement high quality, large-scale, multi-site clinical studies in preparation for and response to outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa. The coalition will in addition ensure the swift initiation of research by establishing a ‘response framework’ to alleviates administrative, regulatory and ethical bottlenecks. It will also enhance and maintain the operational research capacity of the network by developing and implementing a training and capacity development programme.
This coordinated engagement will ultimately accelerate response to emerging epidemics in delivering evidence needed to improve patient care, including the evaluation of new diagnostics and treatment, but also the evidence to improve the control of outbreaks.