Grant will support Doctors without Borders’ research and training hub in Niger

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

An Elsevier Foundation partnership will provide $300,000, while Elsevier provides access to critical products and services

Can a new heat-resistant vaccine for rotavirus save the lives of half a million children per year? Rotavirus is a highly infectious disease causing severe dehydration, diarrhoea and death. The good news is that it’s highly preventable and there are vaccines. But these vaccines must be kept below 8°C — a tall order when trying to reach children in developing countries where refrigeration options are often very limited.

Now Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams are working in Niger to conduct a Phase III vaccine trial for a new, cheaper thermostable rotavirus vaccine. The vaccine is heat stable, which means that more kids can be easily treated, and the spread of this devastating scourge can be stemmed. Doctors without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is an, independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion.

In Niger, where the trial is being conducted, infectious diseases and child malnutrition remain the principle causes of mortality. This is one of the reasons that Epicentre, MSF’s research and training arm since 1986, founded a second Africa-based center there in 2009. (The first was established in Uganda a decade ago.)

Since May 2014, Epicentre is rolling out clinical trials about a new vaccine against Rotavirus. This new vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India has multiple advantages: thermostability, cheaper price than the existing vaccines, less packaging needs. If proven safe and effective, this new vaccine could be a game changer especially for the children in Sub Saharan countries. In Maradi region, 7700 children have been included in this phase III clinical trials.

Since May 2014, Epicentre is rolling out clinical trials about a new vaccine against Rotavirus. In Maradi region, India, 7700 children have been included in this phase III clinical trials.

The Niger Research Center is based in Maradi about 600 kilometers from the capital, Niamey. It has a lab, and its staff is equipped to perform large-scale clinical trials, investigate epidemics, conduct prevalence surveys and program monitoring and evaluation activities. There, doctors, epidemiologists, community health workers, biologists and data managers work closely with MSF teams, the Ministry of Public Health, NGOs, the Pasteur Institute, the World Health Organization and other international organizations. Dr. Emmanuel Baron, Director of the Epicentre, stated: “The staff of the Niger research center will benefit greatly from the support from Elsevier. The collaboration will improve the professional development of our staff and help improve the visibility of our work. This collaboration will also send an important message to our staff and all of those that work hard every day to improve the health of the population of Niger.”


Read the full article here: “Grant will support Doctors without Borders’ research and training hub in Niger“, Ylann Schemm, 25 October 2016

Read the Press Release here: “Elsevier and Doctors without Borders Partner to Help Tackle Africa’s Health Challenges“, Press Office Amsterdam, 25 October 2016