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From vaccines to surveillance: EDCTP announces Covid-19 rapid grant winners


Studies worth €10m will enable European and African teams to target pressing pandemic challenges

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership has announced the winning groups in a rapid Covid-19 funding call. The majority will be led by African institutions.

Twelve of the 20 consortia announced on 29 June will be steered by African institutions, and all the projects have African involvement. The total amount of funding for the projects is €10 million—about US$11.3m. 

Two studies will examine a tuberculosis vaccine’s purported ability to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity. Most studies will research diagnostics, from validating and optimising existing tests, or repurposing others, to working on antibody and immunological assays. Some studies will examine household transmission and surveillance.

South African organisations will lead five projects. Ethiopia, Kenya, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, the Republic of Congo and Zambia will each lead one study. Additionally, projects will involve researchers and organisations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda.

The EDCTP said it received 100 eligible applications, of which 20 have been invited to the grant preparation stage. Others have been put on a reserve list. The organisation said it “continues to explore ways to fund these [reserve] projects”. Funding for the 20 main projects has already been obtained from the European Union, with co-funding from France, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The emergency funding call was announced in April, and stayed open for just two weeks.

“We have been energised by the overwhelming response to the call and the dedication of the experts who made our expedited review procedure possible,” said Michael Makanga, EDCTP executive director, in a statement.