Project: Epidemic preparedness and risk assessment for Ebola Virus Disease outbreaks in the Republic of Congo

Acronym EPIRISK-Ebov (Reference Number: RIA2018EF-2082)
Duration 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020
Project Topic This year, two epidemics outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD) took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), one along the Congo River and the second one in further North in the Great Lakes region, increasing the threat of spillover of EVD cases into neighboring countries notably in the Republic of Congo (RoC). Since RoC is in the preparedness approach and a network assistance has been formally requested by the RoC Government. The pilot study proposed here is therefore aimed at assessing the EBOV cross-sectional seroprevalence as well as the incidence of a longitudinal seroconversion. The presence of EBOV and possible additional pathogens will be determined via pan-domain molecular approaches following a pathogen enrichment method. The specific objectives are: 1. To conduct Ebola-seroprevalence study for Ebola virus across along the border with DRC and compare with a ‘negative control’ population from Brazzaville. 2. To investigate in seropositive individuals, the biological functions of Ebola-specific antibodies and T cells. 3. To conduct questionnaire-based interviews to identify Ebola virus infection risk factors among the resident population. 4. To detect and identify the most prevalent viruses and bacteria in human collected samples by using a very sensitive molecular diagnostic tools including PCR and metagenomic. In addition to the scientific objectives, training of local staff will be one of the most crucial objectives (5) of EPIRISK-Ebov. Personnel from the Fondation Congolaise de la Recherche Medicale (FCRM) and the Laboratoire National de Sante Publique (LNSP) will be enrolled in training on diagnostics, biosafety, serology (ELISA) and flow cytometry. The social science training will be strengthened by UCL and CERMEL and staff from all the DRC surrounding countries including representatives of DRC will be invited to CERMEL to participate in a training workshop . This proposal in fully in line with the call text: 1. it addresses the diagnostic for screening and identifying affected individuals in the risk areas of the Congo river corridor. 2. It will provide high quality data on Ebola surveillance and epidemiological characteristics of viral, bacterial and parasite genotypes as well as data on humoral and cellular immune responses to EBOV antigens in individuals living in the study zones. The Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Congo will be informed of the results by both means regular meetings and by involving its key personnel in this project as well. These two years activities will be fully integrated in the country surveillance activities.
Network EDCTP2
Call Mobilisation of research funds in case of Public Health Emergencies

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Médicale Coordinator Congo, Democratic Republic of the
2 Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin Partner Germany
3 Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné Partner Gabon
4 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement Partner France
5 University College London Partner United Kingdom