The ZikaPLAN initiative combines the strengths of 25 partners in Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia, and various centres in Europe to address the urgent research gaps (WP 1-8) in Zika, identifying short-and long term solutions (WP 9-10) and building a sustainable Latin-American EID Preparedness and Response capacity (WP 11-12). ?
We will conduct clinical studies to further refine the full spectrum and risk factors of congenital Zika syndrome (including neurodevelopmental milestones in the first 3 years of life), and delineate neurological complications associated with Zika due to direct neuroinvasion and immune-mediated responses. Laboratory based research to unravel neurotropism, investigate the role of sexual transmission, determinants of severe disease, and viral fitness will envelop the clinical studies.?
Burden of disease and modelling studies will assemble a wealth of data including a longitudinal cohort study of 17,000 subjects aged 2-59 in 14 different geographic locations in Brazil over 3 years. Data driven vector control and vaccine modelling as well as risk assessments on geographic spread of Zika will form the foundation for evidence-informed policies.
The Platform for Diagnostics Innovation and Evaluation will develop novel ZIKV diagnostic tests in accordance with WHO Target Product Profiles. Our global network of laboratory and clinical sites with well-characterized specimens is set out to accelerate the evaluation of the performance of such tests. ?
Based on qualitative research, we will develop supportive, actionable messages to affected communities, and develop novel personal protective measures. Our final objective is for the Zika outbreak response effort to grow into a sustainable Latin-American network for emerging infectious diseases research preparedness. To this end we will engage in capacity building in laboratory and clinical research, collaborate with existing networks to share knowledge and tackle regulatory and other bottlenecks.