Impact #1: Implementing the urgently needed research on ZIKV, thus providing evidence to public health authorities on optimal prevention and clinical management strategies, particularly for pregnant women
ZIKAlliance will achieve this impact by:
- Providing robust estimates for absolute and relative risks of congenital malformations, given ZIKV infection during pregnancy as well as the spectrum of disease manifestations associated with ZIKV infection including the symptomatic‐asymptomatic ratio (via WP1/2)
- Reporting the force of infection over time i.e. seroprevalence before/after the epidemic (via WP1)
- Providing information to public health authorities on the risk associated with certain clades, and their geographic spread.
- Providing a model of the transmission dynamics and spread in local communities and also worldwide, using many variables (e.g. spatial connectivity, social, demographic and behaviour predictors). The model is aimed at providing insight on how ZIKV spread could be reduced or stopped. Public health authorities can then take this evidence and design prevention strategies.
- Providing typing tools that can be used by clinicians to help in clinical management decisions.
- Identifying animal reservoirs, diminishing the risk of ZIKV re‐emergence and infection sources in peri‐urban environments, Aid in the identification and generation of novel animal models to investigate ZIKV pathogenesis and intervention strategies (via WP5).
- Identifying vectors, characterization of vector competence, vector resistance to insecticides.
- Characterising population beliefs and behaviours that can help or jeopardize prevention strategies.
- Reinforcing the power of ZIKAlliance studies by collaborating with the other EC‐funded Zika consortia, and sharing data for pooled analyses.
Impact #2: Building up the overall capacity for preparedness research against severe infectious outbreaks
- Put in place a platform of clinical research sites (via WP1/2) adopting harmonised protocols and SOPs that will serve not only for the research carried out in the context of the project but also a platform for launching additional studies. This will be implemented in collaboration with the two other EC‐funded Zika consortia (ZikaPlan and ZIKAction) as detailed in WPs 10 and 12.
- Build an infrastructure to sample and test vector insects and the dynamics of transmission to help the design ofbetter strategies to control dissemination of the virus (WP6)
- Build a sustainable global research network in Latin America and the Caribbean with connection with relevant institutions, research programmes and global initiatives in the field of emerging infectious diseases.
ZIKAlliance will make available a large collection of ZIKV‐specific research (and diagnostics) tools, e.g. antibodies, virus panels and biochemical assays for studying properties of ZIKV and MoA of antiviral compounds. In addition the project (WP3) will deliver compounds with anti‐ZIKV activity and ideally broad‐spectrum anti‐flavivirus activity. The developed concepts, pipelines and network should improve our preparedness for the next large virus outbreak that will undoubtedly occur.
Impact #3: Coordinating with relevant initiatives at a national, regional and international level, particularly within the context of the GloPID‐R
ZIKAlliance will harmonize protocols for cohort studies with WHO/PAHO and other funders (e.g. NIH) (via WP10). Furthermore the Stakeholder Forum and external communication activities will interact closely with all relevant initiatives at a national, regional and international level (WP8/11) to ensure that the outcomes of ZIKAlliance reach their expected impacts. In Brazil, full coordination with FIOCRUZ, a member of the consortium, will occur.
Impact #4: Acting to leverage and facilitate additional research from other funders, primarily against ZIKV and emerging pathogens but also against poverty related and neglected diseases
ZIKAlliance leverages existing funding from the European Commission from previous dengue research (IDAMS) that has been adapted to include ZIKV infections as well as funds from the French Government and the Brazilian Government to fight Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean (within WP1/2). Data of the pregnant women cohort will be pooled with data from similar EC‐funded cohorts and beyond (for example NIH‐funded) (via WP10). Furthermore ZIKAlliance partners have submitted applications for co‐funding by Brazilian agencies (CNPQ, FAPESB, FINEP) which are in advanced stages of review. The project also creates synergies with ongoing research projects funded by the EC (WP10/11/12) but also the German Research Foundation and the German Centre for Infection Research, co‐funding by Swiss National Funds. (WP5). The research results, communication (scientific and societal output, conferences, network meetings) and the huge network of ZIKAlliance partners, including contacts with industry and governmental organizations will aid in facilitating additional research funding/activities. The strong communication activities in the context of WP8/11 will explore collaborative efforts with other entities and further funding for ZIKAlliance activities.