An African-led scientific team in collaboration with U.S.-based Clinical Research Management (ClinicalRM), and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) recently announced the assembly of the Global Emerging Pathogens Therapy/Treatment (GET) Consortium.
This group of medical and project management experts is pooling resources to assess the efficacy of immune plasma collected from survivors of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa. The Consortium, whose plan is closely aligned with the WHO position paper on collection and use of convalescent plasma or serum as an element in Filovirus outbreak response, expects to begin clinical trials in this month.
Members from the GET Consortium are also acting as key scientific advisors for the effort in West Africa related to convalescent plasma for the treatment of Ebola virus disease recently announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The African-led effort is comprised of clinicians, haematologists, ethicists, medical and community engagement experts from academic research universities, research organizations and private industry. The GET Consortium is working at a rapid pace to organize and establish plasmapheresis and plasma processing and storage facilities in key strategic locations in Africa and to rapidly conduct clinical trials to assess efficacy in the affected areas.
The use of blood components has long been a challenge in countries like Africa due to blood borne infections such as HIV, hepatitis and malaria. However, pathogen inactivation technologies that substantially reduce the risk of transfusion transmittable infections from blood components provide an opportunity to safely study the potential of immune-plasma treatment in patients without placing them at risk for contracting other diseases.
Requests for regulatory approvals in the U.S. and in West Africa are currently being sought and finalized.
The Consortium is collaborating with the Lagos State Government, Nigeria to establish one of its nerve centers in Lagos in the light of the success and leadership demonstrated in containing the outbreak in Nigeria. Regional trial centers will be established across the most affected countries in the West African region in this collaborative effort.
The activity of GET Consortium and its partners in its endeavor to address this current outbreak, will ultimately result in much needed indigenous capacity development in the field of blood component therapy in Africa.