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One Health network for the prevention of vector-borne diseases around the Mediterranean and Sahel regions

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Response to COVID-19 pandemic

Launch of the MediLabSecure Covid-19 surveillance and impact study to strengthen surveillance and protection capacities in African hospital settings


Healthcare workers are on the front line in the management of the epidemic, with different challenges that include a spectrum of responsibilities ranging from surveillance of cases to clinical management and care of patients; they are daily exposed to the risk of contagion and in case of infection can become potential spreaders. In that sense, they also play an essential role in the implementation of adequate infection prevention and control measures in healthcare facilities.

The core of the MediLabSecure project is to strengthen preparedness and response capacities to emerging viral diseases in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Sahel regions, promoting a “One Health” approach. Therefore, the public health emergency, due to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 of zoonotic origins, falls under the scope of the MediLabSecure project, whose European partner Institutes (Laboratory for Urgent Response to Biological Threats (CIBU) at the Institut Pasteur in France, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in Italy and Animal Health Research Center (INIA-CISA) in Spain) rapidly reacted implementing actions to support national surveillance capacities in the beneficiary countries and beyond.

In this framework, and according to the WHO recommendations to establish a cohort study on healthcare workers, MediLabSecure has launched a multicentric surveillance and impact study in 4 African countries: Burkina Faso and Niger (members of the MediLabSecure network), Central African Republic and Madagascar (members of the Institut Pasteur International Network - IPIN); a fifth country, Cameroon (also member of IPIN), will participate in the study as well, directly supported by the Institut Pasteur. 

In order to strengthen the surveillance and protection capacities of healthcare workers against Covid-19 epidemic, this study aims to identify the potential risk factors of infection among healthcare workers in contact with Covid-19 patients when managing the first cases, through a longitudinal follow-up including:

  • seroprevalence before and after exposure to clinically confirmed cases;

  • level of exposure;

  • proportion of asymptomatic forms;

  • use of individual protective measures;

  • census of infection cases and determination of its clinical features among healthcare workers population;

  • evolution of the disease (duration, severity, etc.).

  • Running over at least 6 months on cohorts ranging from 80 to 280 participants per country, the study will provide valuable data to better understand the key epidemiological characteristics in the dynamic of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

    In addition, the study participants will be provided with the training course on “Preparedness and Response to the Health Emergency from novel Coronavirus SARS CoV-2” developed by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS - Rome) within the MediLabSecure project, addressing the management of suspected and confirmed cases and the prevention andmonitoring strategies in both clinical and community setting. The surveillance studies will therefore be useful to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention and control measures delivered by the training.

    To date, all the participant countries received the official approval from their national ethic committee; the study participants have been recruited and the monitoring has started with the collection of the first samples.

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    ContactInstitut Pasteur / @MediLabSecure