Member countries
boost budget of
emergency call

Jean Marie Vianney Habarugira

The available budget stands at approximately €10.0 million comprising cash contributions from the European Union (€2.25 million), the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (€1.0 million), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (€2.55 million, and the UK (Department for Health and Social Care (€1.95 million) and Medical Research Council (€2.21 million). Moreover, the South African Department of Science & Innovation committed additional funding to South African participants in successful proposals to facilitate regional international cooperation.

The EDCTP COVID-19 Emergency response call was open a mere 14 days and saw a record number of applications submitted to a single-stage call with an accelerated review mechanism. A total of 153 applications were received, of which 100 were eligible. The consortia which were assembled in a couple of days to respond to the call and the high quality of applications received may be an indicator of growing strength and competitiveness of the clinical research community in sub-Saharan Africa which is further bolstered by international collaboration.

The 100 eligible applications went through an expedited and robust peer review which led to a ranked list of 47 proposals. Twenty proposals have been invited to grant preparation and some put on a reserve list while EDCTP continues to explore ways to fund these projects. The cash contribution from the European Union and the co-funding so far received from France, Sweden, South Africa and the United Kingdom, is gratefully acknowledged.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented surge in scientific collaboration on research and development programs for prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic tools. In April 2020, and with additional financial support of several EDCTP member countries, EDCTP activated its Emergency funding mechanism to ensure a quick start of COVID-19 research in sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier, this mechanism was activated as the world responded to the 2018 Ebola outbreak in DRC.

A first analysis of the selected proposals 

The 20 projects selected will be conducted by 20 consortia (each with at least 3 member institutions). Twelve consortia are coordinated by entities based in sub-Saharan Africa.

The call invited the submission of proposals that would target the following thematic areas while aiming to:

  1. Understand the natural history of infection and the role of asymptomatic infection in transmission, improve surveillance capabilities.
  2. Promote the development, adaptation, evaluation, and implementation of point-of-care diagnostic tests that can be used to screen all patients presenting with a history consistent with COVID-19 infection.
  3. Support standardised implementation of randomised, controlled trials of promising products (diagnostics and therapeutics).
  4. Validate and adapt existing serological tests and establish biobanks and serum panels of well-characterised COVID-19 sera.

The EDCTP Project Officer for the call, Jean Marie Vianney Habarugira, did an analysis of the 20 selected projects. It shows that most proposals are seeking to address more than one thematic area and involve many different countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

Map: 20 projects, 20 Networks

Coordinating country and other members of the consortium

Coordinating country and other members of the consortium


RIA2020EF-2981: household transmission

RIA2020EF-2983: PCR, influenza system repurpose

RIA2020EF-2968: BCG

RIA2020EF-3049: BCG

Clin Characterisation

RIA2020EF-2947: COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip™

RIA2020EF-2905: combination of RDTs

RIA2020EF-2918: POC-LAMP (PATHPOD) diagnostics

RIA2020EF-2937: RT-PCR in a suitcase

RIA2020EF-3004: Ag, Ab tests, Xpert® MTB/ RIF-Covid and computer aided diagnostic software

RIA2020EF-3026: Dried Plasma Spot samples

RIA2020EF-3030: RT-LAMP diagnostic

RIA2020EF-3031: population-based surveillance

RIA2020EF-2923: active epi surveillance

RIA2020EF-2926: COVID in pregnant women

RIA2020EF-2961: PCR

RIA2020EF-3008: antibody evolution following exposure

RIA2020EF-3012: COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip™

RIA2020EF-3042: antibody & other immunological assays

About us

The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a public–public partnership between 14 European and 16 African countries, supported by the European Union. EDCTP’s vision is to reduce the individual, social and economic burden of poverty-related infectious diseases by affecting sub-Saharan Africa. EDCTP’s mission is to accelerate the development of new or improved medicinal products for the identification, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, including emerging and re-emerging diseases, through pre- and postregistration clinical studies, with emphasis on phase II and III clinical trials. Our approach integrates conduct of research with development of African clinical research capacity and networking. The second EDCTP programme is implemented by the EDCTP Association supported under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

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