Meetings & Event
ZikaPLAN Scientists attend WHO Technical Consultation
As the Zika virus epidemic unfolds in Brazil, it is now clear that in addition to the thousands of babies affected by microcephaly there are many more born with other disabilities as a result of Zika. Efforts are now underway to meet the needs of all these babies and their families. This includes the medical needs, such as physiotherapy, speech therapy and so on, but also providing social support to families and early stimulation to the babies in order to maximize their development.
To this end, WHO held a technical consultation on strengthening capacity to enhance detection, care, support and services for complications associated with Zika virus in Geneva in March. This meeting was attended by Prof. Laura Rodrigues, Prof. Democrito de Barros Miranda Filho, and Prof. Hannah Kuper from ZikaPLAN. Laura Rodrigues chaired one of the sessions and Hannah Kuper had the opportunity to present on her research with parents of children with Congenital Zika Syndrome.
A meeting of the Neuro Zika working group took place by videoconference on April 12, 2017. Group members attended the meeting from Fiocruz Recife and Fiocruz Rio, the University of Glasgow, the University of Liverpool and Erasmus MC, Rotterdam.
Updates on work being carried out were provided from Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Recife and São Paulo) and also from Glasgow and Liverpool.
Think Brazil: Zika
As part of a Think Brazil event, organized by the scientific branches of the British Embassy in Brazil and the Brazilian Embassy in Britain, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will hold an event at the Manson Theatre in London on May 11, 2017.
Speakers at the event include Prof. Celina Turchi, Fiocruz (Zika microcephaly epidemic in Brazil) who has been named one of the 10 most important scientists of 2016 by Nature magazine; and other ZikaPLAN scientists: Prof. Hannah Kuper, (Addressing the child disability burden in Brazil) and Prof. Laura C. Rodrigues (How do we think about where we are in the Zika epidemics?).
Prof. Democrito Miranda Filho, Universidade de Pernambuco, will also speak on Congenital Zika syndrome and evolution of microcephaly in the first year of life.
A WHO-TDR Expert meeting in collaboration with Umeå University Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS) entitled “Dengue-Zika-Chikungunya early outbreak warning and response” was held in Freiburg on April 5-6, 2017.
WHO Zika Virus Research Agenda – Meeting February 14-15, 2017
Sharing data during an epidemic is extremely important for researchers to develop the necessary diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines to save lives. This also includes supporting the generation of evidence needed to strengthen essential public health guidance and actions to prevent and limit the impact of Zika virus and its complications.
The Global Vector Hub
The world leading independent test centre, ARCTEC at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is working with The Global Health Network, the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop an exciting new initiative. The Global Vector Hub is being launched in response to the recent World Health Organization Global Vector Control Response and is being part-funded by the EU H2020 ZikaPLAN grant.
Following training in the field and piloting of instruments carried out in São Paulo last February, the fieldwork proper of the ZikaPLAN Messaging group project has now begun in Jundiaí, 60 km north of São Paulo, and in Salvador, capital of Bahia State.
The specific objective of this project is to better understand the perceptions of and reactions to Zika messages in these two socio-economically and epidemiologically distinct regions of Brazil.
Creating a Regional Research Network
REDe is a work package shared between all three EU funded Zika consortia and is tasked with creating a regional research network that is able to respond to emerging infectious diseases by collecting high quality data. The aim is to equip low resourced areas with the knowledge, methods, skills and capabilities to support a high quality, rapid and coherent research response to the Zika outbreak in the short term. The longer-term aim of this network is to establish lasting capacity to conduct research in the event of other vector-borne and emerging infectious disease outbreaks in Latin America and the Caribbean.
WEAR: (Wearable Aedes Repellent Technologies)
New Online Course "Preventing the Zika Virus: Understanding and Controlling the Aedes Mosquito"
Professor James Logan, who leads the WEAR (Wearable Aedes Repellent Technologies) working group in ZikaPLAN, is teaching a new online course on Zika virus vector control. Featured in the January-February edition of Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, the course was developed by ARCTEC at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and will start May 8th on the FutureLearn online education platform.
NEURO-ZIKA: Neurological Manifestations of Zika
The Link between Zika Virus Infection and Neurological Disease
Professor Lisa F.P. Ng, University of Liverpool, is leading the project entitled "Investigating the link between Zika virus infection and neurological disease in ex vivo and in vivo models".
Zika: A Global Health Emergency
Dr. Cyril Caminade (Queen Mary University of London) presented at this conference on February 27, 2017
A meeting of the ZikaPLAN Neuro Zika Group was held at the University of Glasgow on January 18, 2017 to review progress on understanding the neurological aspects of Zika infection.
Raquel Medialdea-Carrera (University of Liverpool) was awarded the ESCMID young scientist grant to travel to Washington to present at The First International Conference on Zika Virus - February 22-25, 2017.
A Collaborative event run by the Royal Society of Medicine and the University of Liverpool Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging Zoonotic Infections (HPRU EZI) was held on March 10, 2017. Delegates heard from experts about the effects of the Zika virus infection on both adults and children.
ZikaPLAN and ZikAlliance working together on Mathematical Modeling for Zika
The explosive Zika virus epidemic in the Americas has the potential to amplify the spread into previously unaffected regions of the world, including Europe. As summertime approaches in the northern hemisphere, Aedes mosquitoes in Europe may find suitable climatic conditions to acquire and subsequently transmit Zika virus from viremic travelers to local populations.
While Aedes albopictus has proven to be a vector for the transmission of dengue and chikungunya viruses in Europe, there is growing experimental and ecological evidence to suggest that it may also be competent for Zika virus.
Cross-Consortia Meeting: University of Heidelberg
Photo: Dr. Claire Thorne
An important part of the collaborative work undertaken by ZikAction, ZikAlliance and ZikaPLAN is the harmonization of the multicenter cohort studies and the identification of both common and consortia-specific variables. A cross-consortia meeting was held to discuss these questions at the University of Heidelberg on February 21-23, 2017.
The objective of this meeting was to work towards the harmonization of data sets via the discussion of case report forms and to develop a data sharing road map for the pregnant women cohort studies and the children cohorts.
ZikAlliance research team study provides new information about Zika virus infection
To date, ZikaPLAN partners have published more than sixty Zika-related publications.