PENTA Foundation coordinated ZIKAction consortium awarded €7 million EU H2020 grant to combat Zika virus and other emerging infectious disease outbreaks.
The ZIKAction consortium (Preparedness, research and action network on maternal-paediatric axis of Zika virus infection in Latin America and the Caribbean), coordinated by the PENTA Foundation, is set to receive a €7 million, five-year grant from the European Union through the Horizon 2020 programme’s recent call for research to combat Zika virus (ZIKV) and other emerging infections transmitted by mosquitoes in Latin America. This award is one of three issued under this Horizon 2020 call, totalling €30 million in funding.
Composed of 14 partners across Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and Europe, the ZIKAction consortium includes experts in infectious disease, virology, neonatology and epidemiology. ZIKAction will conduct an interdisciplinary programme of research studies to address key knowledge gaps related to ZIKV epidemiology, natural history and pathogenesis, focussing on maternal and child health. This will include multi-site prospective cohort studies of pregnant women with ZIKV infection and their infants in Brazil, Jamaica, Haiti and Costa Rica, to elucidate the timing and mechanisms of vertical transmission of ZIKV and to investigate burden and natural history of congenital and acquired paediatric ZIKV infection. Novel diagnostic methodologies will be developed and validated within the network, and studies conducted to increase understanding of the pathogenesis of ZIKV vertical transmission and the development of microcephaly and other fetal brain abnormalities.
Activities will leverage the experience and expertise of the PENTA-ID network and other key partners in conducting studies on other congenital infections, including HIV, building strong collaborations in regions heavily impacted by the Zika virus to provide the information essential to confront the current epidemic. ZIKAction will collaborate with the two other H2020-funded ZIKV research consortia (ZIKAlliance and Zika PLAN) to develop a Latin-American and Caribbean network for emerging infectious diseases preparedness and response, as well as with activities of the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R).
The grant is expected to be signed next week.