TriageTB's funder, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Partnership (EDCTP), published its Annual Report 2020 on June 30, 2021. The report summarizes the EDCTP2’s activities last year and introduces its successor programme, the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking, which will be launched in 2022.
The EDCTP is a public-public partnership between 14 European and 16 African countries, supported by the European Union. The Second EDCTP Programme began in 2014 and will conclude in 2024. The final major calls for proposals were launched in 2020 to allow time for studies to be wrapped up by 2024.
In 2020, seven new calls for proposals were launched, bringing the total number of EDCTP2 calls to 60. In total, the EDCTP2 has awarded 410 grants, including 134 collaborative clinical trials and clinical studies grants, 84 clinical research capacity grants, and 192 fellowship grants. These grants support activities at more than 252 institutions in 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and 179 institutions in 19 European countries.
The cumulative EDCTP2 grant funding reached a total of more than €800 million, a figure that is still rising.
The EDCTP2 portfolio includes 33 projects on tuberculosis (TB) and TB-HIV co-functions (28.83% of the total by number.) There is a strong focus on TB diagnostics, with 18 of the 33 grants focused on TB diagnostics (€64 million by value.)
EDCTP2 emphasises improving TB detection methods, monitoring response to TB therapy, and shortening the duration of TB treatment. The goal of TriageTB, to field-validate a rapid point-of-care triage test for active TB that can be conducted laboratory-free, is entirely in line with the EDCTP2’s aim to improve TB diagnostics.
To support its capacity building activities, EDCTP commissioned The Global Health Network (TGHN) to develop a digital knowledge hub to provide researchers with tools and guidance that enable them to undertake high-quality health research.
The EDCTP Knowledge hub, an online platform providing multiple open-access resources for researchers conducting clinical research in low-resource settings, was launched in November 2020.
The EDCTP Knowledge Hub includes three key areas:
• Protocol Development Toolkit: A step-by-step guide to developing a health research protocol, practical tools for producing a protocol and soliciting feedback from other Knowledge Hub users, plus advice on turning a protocol into a successful study.
• Data Management Portal: Step-by-step guidance and tools, from preparing a data management plan to effective data management.
• Data Sharing Toolkit: Practical tools and guidance to support the depositing and sharing of research data, including an online decision tree to help users select an appropriate repository.
TriageTB’s focus on capacity building efforts goes hand in hand with the EDCTP’s commitment to strengthen the capacity of multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A previous article on the TriageTB project website explains how the project’s capacity strengthening scheme, led by Professor Hazel Dockrell from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), is tailored to foster dynamic and mutually beneficial mentoring relationships over long distances.
In 2020, the European Commission announced plans for a successor to the EDCTP2 programme – the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking. The new programme is due to launch in the first quarter of 2022, running parallel to the EDCTP2 for two years, until the latter concludes in 2024.
The Global Health EDCTP3 programme will build and expand the foundation laid by the first two EDCTP programmes. It will continue to focus on poverty-related infectious diseases and be rooted in the power of partnerships. However, it will have additional resources and aim for still greater strategic alignment with other bodies active in the field of global health and development.
Capacity building will continue to be a central pillar in the Global Health EDCTP3 programme.