The consortium, which gathers 52 institutional partners located in 18 countries, has met for the first time in São Paulo, Brazil, to coordinate and plan its working activities over the next 3 years. Over this timeframe, ZIKAlliance aims to link large observational multicentre cohort studies with basic scientific research to focus on three key objectives: understanding the impact of Zika virus infection during pregnancy and identifying short and medium term effects on newborns; tracking and documenting the natural history of Zika virus infection in humans and their environment in the context of other circulating arboviruses; building the overall capacity for preparedness research for future epidemic threats in Latin America and the Caribbean in collaboration with ZIKAction and ZikaPLAN.
To meet its three key objectives, ZIKAlliance has been organised in 9 work packages ranging from basic science, study of animals to establish if they carry Zika virus through to clinical research, with a focus on diagnostics and the social impact of Zika on the community.
ISARIC’s Coordinating Centre - chaired by Peter Horby and headed by Gail Carson, and based at Nuffield Department of Medicine’s Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health in Oxford – will be leading ZIKAlliance’s Work Package No. 8: Communication, Dissemination and Evaluation.
In addition this consortium will join together in the fight against Zika with another 2 European Commission funded projects; ZIKAction and ZikaPLAN. Key areas for collaboration have been identified in the areas of harmonization of study protocols, the sharing of data, a common preparedness network (REDe), governance and common communication needs.
During the meeting each work package leader and co-leaders had the possibility to present and discuss their research agenda and future workplans. All efforts will be made to ensure good communication across the work packages to facilitate an efficient research response.
This work is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under ZIKAlliance grant agreement No 734548.