Funded Projects

PROJECT

2nd Joint Call: MalHivPOCTs

The MalHivPOCTs project aims to develop rapid point-of-care diagnostic devices that will detect Malaria (Plasmodium genus and two species of Plamodium) and HIV drug resistance to antiretroviral using isothermal amplification methods, paper-based microfluidics and visual readout.
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Background

Malaria and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are two highly dangerous global infectious diseases that cause major harm especially to societies in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region. Current diagnostic technologies are cumbersome, expensive and require sophisticated equipment that can only be maintained in specialized hospitals. This means unfortunately that diagnostics are not available where and when truly needed. Specifically, current diagnostic tests for Malaria are based on microscopy, antigen/antibody detection and nucleic acid-based assays. The gold standard for the detection of mutations in HIV is Sanger sequencing. At the same time, recent advancements in biosensor and rapid-test diagnostics have demonstrated their powerful potential in addressing exactly these complex diagnostic needs in resource-limited settings. Based on our joint diverse and broad strong expertise in Malaria, HIV infectious diseases, biosensors, and nucleic-acid based systems, we propose the development of paper-based and biosensor technologies for the simultaneous detection of Malaria or HIV drug resistance, leading to a simple and low-cost, yet highly reliable and sensitive diagnostic kit.

 

The Project

The MalHivPOCTs project aims to develop rapid point-of-care diagnostic devices that will detect Malaria (Plasmodium genus and two species of Plamodium) and HIV drug resistance to antiretroviral using isothermal amplification methods, paper-based microfluidics and visual readout.

This project will involve parallel developments of the different components of the paper-based device from 4 partners (Germany, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand) and hence take advantage of their respective expertise in a collaborative effort.

 

The Science

The MalHivPOCTs will be based on developing strategies to lyse the pathogens in the blood sample, extract DNA/RNA, amplify specific target sequences, and finally detect the product in a set of paper-based analytical devices (PADs). The device will be made from a patterned piece of chromatography paper with wax ink functioning as hydrophobic barriers and hydrophilic channel. It will integrate all sample assay steps from lysis to detection. Electrospun nanofibers will be studied to enhance DNA/RNA extraction. The recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) is used to amplify DNA/RNA and single or simultaneous detection using colloidal gold or liposomes will result in visual detection.

 

The Team:

The MalHivPOCTs partners are:

Contact:

Patsamon Rijiravanich: patsamon.rij@biotec.or.th

 

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PROJECT

2nd Joint Call:  Irrigation4.0

The objective of the project is to improve a soil moisture and evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling system in a wireless sensor network (WSN) platform. It is funded under the 2nd Call of Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background

Both in Southeast Asia and Europe, the transition towards a bio-based economy holds great potential for economic growth, rural development and decreasing fossil fuel dependence, but requires tackling important challenges. One of these is the steady, reliable and affordable supply of sustainably produced biomass in the agricultural sector. A reliable supply of biomass (for food, feed, fuel) in terms of quantity, quality and continuity, heavily depends on agronomic management practices.

This is also the case for irrigation in regions where rainfall does not cover the physiological needs of plants to achieve the maximum yield potential, and co-occurring environmental conditions such as high temperatures contribute to drought stress. Irrigation needs to be sustainable in terms of water use, and affordable on a macro-economic (production costs versus market value) and micro-economic level (costs versus yield gain). A smart irrigation system aimed at optimizing water use in a cost- and effort-affordable way addresses the EU and SEA bioeconomy strategies for the agricultural sector, including the sustainable exploitation of resources, resource use efficiency, and rural development.

The Project

The irrigation-dependency of plant biomass production and the deficiency of resources will further increase due to climate change. The project involves the development of a new irrigation scheduling system that can reduce water consumption in the agricultural sector by being tuned to the plant’s actual water use, and to agronomic practices aimed at maximizing yield. This collaborative project aims at creating innovation as it is fully embracing the concepts of agriculture 4.0, and fits within the strategic objective of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The project focuses on two different plant species and production systems that require appropriate irrigation to achieve high yields: high-value fruit orchards (durian)and an arable crop (maize). These were chosen in order to maximize the project’s potential application areas, to raise its scientific value in terms of plant water use for a tree species and an annual C4 monocot crop, and to challenge the technology under different scenarios.

The Science

The objective of the project is to improve a soil moisture and evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling system in a wireless sensor network (WSN) platform, by means of high temporal resolution data informing about plant water status. Psychrometers and thermal infrared cameras, providing stem water potential and canopy temperature data, will be added to the WSN. The improved platform will cope with large data volumes, new processing algorithms requiring significant computing performance, and an increased power consumption. The plant-based sensors will be critically tested for their value in increasing our understanding of plant water use throughout development and in interaction with the environment. The improved irrigation platform will then be installed in a durian (Durio zibethinus L.) orchard in Thailand for performance testing and data collection. Machine learning approaches will be applied to develop plant water potential and canopy temperature index models, and to classify plant responses to irrigation, water-deficit, and environmental conditions across the growing season. The new irrigation scheduling system in the adapted platform will be extensively tested in a durian orchard and a maize (Zea mays L.) field plot for performance, irrigation accuracy and effects on yield.

The Team:

The Irrigation4.0 partners are:

Dr. Teera Phatrapornnant : National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand

Dr. Nathalie Wuyts: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Germany

Porf. Dr. Khin Than Mya: Faculty of Computer Systems and Technologies, University of Computer Studies, Yangon, Myanmar

Contact:

Teera Phatrapornnant: teera.phatrapornnant@nectec.or.th

PROJECT

2nd Joint Call: Moxistrong

The overarching goal of this project is to assemble for the first time key data on the safety and efficacy and pharmacokinetics of moxidectin for the treatment of strongyloidiasis. It is funded under the 2nd Call of Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background

Strongyloides stercoralis belongs to the soil-transmitted helminths and is the most neglected helminth infection among the neglected tropical diseases. It occurs almost worldwide and may result in long-lasting infections, and significant morbidity. Today, drug treatments, combined with health education programs, remain the core control strategy. The current recommended treatments are a single dose of ivermectin or multiple doses of albendazole, which has a lower efficacy compared to ivermectin. Since drug resistance is a threat it is important to develop treatment alternatives. Among new candidates in the human anthelminthic drug development pipeline, moxidectin, a macrocyclic lactone might be an excellent alternative. In an exploratory, randomized, single-blind trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of moxidectin an excellent cure rate was observed against S. stercoralis.

The Project

The overarching goal of this project is to assemble for the first time key data on the safety and efficacy and pharmacokinetics of moxidectin for the treatment of strongyloidiasis. The project involves four highly multi-disciplinary, interlinked objectives. 1.) What is the efficacy and safety of ascending moxidectin doses (2-12 mg versus placebo) against S. stercoralis infections in adults? 2. Can dried blood spots (DBS) be used to analyse pharmacokinetic (PK) properties of moxidectin? 3. What are key PK parameters of moxidectin in patients infected with S. stercoralis? 4. What is the safety and efficacy of moxidectin against S. stercoralis compared to the drug of choice ivermectin?

The Science

Research questions are embedded in one Phase 2a and two Phase 2b clinical trials. A Phase 2a dose-finding trial will be conducted to determine the efficacy and safety of ascending single, oral doses of moxidectin versus placebo in Lao PDR in 210 adults infected with S. stercoralis. The primary outcome is to assess the efficacy of 2-12 mg moxidectin versus placebo in terms of cure rate against S. stercoralis. Secondary outcomes are the tolerability of the treatment regimens and PK properties. For this purpose venous blood will be withdrawn by cannulation from 15 adults in the Phase 2a study at 0, 2, 4, 8, 24 and 72 hours, 7 and 21 days post-treatment with moxidectin in the 8 mg study arm. From the same participants and of 15 patients in the other treatment arms DBS samples will be taken at the same time points. Once the optimal dose of moxidectin has been identified in the Phase 2a trial a Phase 2b trial will be conducted in Laos and Cambodia. This study will be a non-inferiority trial and include 245 patients treated with moxidectin, ivermectin or placebo. 35 patients will be included in the PK studies.

The Team

The Moxistrong partners are: 

Prof. Jennifer Keiser : Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland

Dr. Somphou Sayasone : Lao Tropical and PublicHealth Institute, Laos PDR

Dr. Virak Khieu : National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, Cambodia

Contact: 

Jennifer Keiser: jennifer.keiser@unibas.ch

PROJECT

2nd Joint Call: Purge to Value

The aim of the project is to use the metabolites from A. platensis purge water for the production of a complex nitrogen source. It is funded under the 2nd Call of Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background 

Cyanobacteria have gained much attention as a rich source of bioactive compounds and have been considered as one of the most promising groups of organisms to produce them. One of the well-known and widely used representative, mostly in the food industry, is Arthrospira platensis (Spirulina platensis).

Growth of A. platensis requires a group of nutrients in the cultivation media, with the nitrate, phosphate, and carbon source being of the highest importance. Under systematic, continuous cultivation a build up of nutrients, organic matter and A. platensis metabolites is observed in the cultivation water, which acts as a growth inhibitor for A. platensis and is therefore an issue for the productivity in commercial plants. This fact shows the need to replace the media water when A. platensis production decreases, which leads to the production of large yearly amounts of Arthrospira purge water.

Therefore, an A. platensis production in tank based systems presents two key technological challenges:

  • Reducing water usage in A. platensis production by increasing purge water recycling
  • Repurposing the purge water after it is no longer able to be used for algae cultivation

 

The Project

The aim of the project is to use the metabolites from A. platensis purge water for the production of a complex nitrogen source. Extremophile yeasts do have the capability to convert the short chain sugars that are occurring in A. platensis purge water into valuable lipids and these do have the potential to serve as a valuable food product.

Therefore, the aim of the project is twofold: Firstly, the integration of a second biological process shall serve as a purge Arthrospira wastewater cleaning step. That is the cultivation of extremophile yeasts in the wastewater, that have the capability to convert the exopolysaccharides and media build up to valuable lipids, while the water is recycled and reused in A. platensis cultivation. Secondly, the produced biomass or parts thereof (yeast extract, lipids etc.) represent additional product streams with the potential to serve as a valuable food product of or a recycle stream for existing or as an organic alternative media for existing A. platensis production plants.

 

The Science

The implementation of a second biological step into algae cultivation systems, that makes use of the purge water, will be pursued. An extremophile yeast, Debaryomyces hansenii, a producer of valuable lipids, has been identified for this purpose. There is evidence that these two organisms could be cultivated on each other’s excreted metabolites and enable a combined production process. To enhance the profitably of the overall process valuable substances, a lipid fraction and a yeast extract from D. hansenii shall be identified, isolated and assessed in regards of their compliance to food and feed applications. The experiments in lab scale will be cultivations of A. platensis and D. hansenii on the respective purge water and an in depth analysis of all influencing effects. Furthermore, the isolation of lipids and yeast extract will be investigated. All experimental investigation will be analytically monitored, the developed new products will be characterized and data for validation will be gathered. The results of the experimental investigation will be technically assessed and contribute to the design of an integrated overall process for the valorization of side streams of the said process, by creating further products from and closing recycle loops for A. platensis production processes.

The Team

Purge to Value partners are: 

Prof. Dr. Heike Frühwirth : Hochschule Biberach (HB), Germany

Dr. Baptiste Leroy : University of Mons (UM), Belgium

Dr. Thornthan Sawangwman : Ramkhamhaeng University (RU), Thailand

Muhamet Doertkardes : EnerGaia Co. Ltd. Thailand

Contact: 

Heike Frühwirth : fruehwirth@hochschule-bc.de

PROJECT

2nd Joint Call: PHIShINg

The project aims to develop new diagnostic tests of the Hepatitis B virus. It is funded under the 2nd Call of Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background

Hepatitis B is one of the major causes of acute and chronic viral hepatitis, an infection that affects the liver. According to World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 257 million people were living with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in 2015 and Hepatitis B resulted in 887 000 deaths, mostly from complications (including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma). The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. It constitutes a public health threat and is an important occupational hazard for health workers. In addition, only 9% of HBV-infected people are diagnosed always according to WHO. One reason is the limited access to affordable hepatitis tests and especially ones that can be performed by non-laboratory staff. Hence the development of diagnostic tools of infection by HBV is crucial on a public health point of view. 

The Project

The project aims to develop new diagnostic tests of Hepatitis B virus that should be inexpensive, easy to use and highly sensitive. To this end, paper-based label-free electrochemical immunosensor will be designed to integrate silver nanoparticles as redox probes for signal enhancement of the assay. Special attention will be carried out on the ease of synthesis and use.

The Science

Hepatitis B virus has a lipid envelope containing hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and this antigen is found in the blood during the incubation period and in case of acute and chronic infection. Therefore, HBsAg is considered as a major index of hepatitis B viruses (HBV) infection. Due to the highly specific binding of antigens and antibodies, immunoassays are particularly adapted to detect HBsAg. Label-free electrochemical immunosensors has attracted interest since a long time to give up the classical sandwich-type structure. Indeed this structure requires to perform several biorecognition steps to introduce a label, like in ELISA tests. On another hand, nanomaterial has also intensively been investigated for signal enhancement and improvement of the limit of detection of immunosensors due to their intrinsic advantages such as electrical properties and large surface area. Lastly, the development of microfluidic devices has been stimulated in the field of sensors with the goal to produce low-cost point-of-care diagnostics and on-site detection. Recent developments suggest that bioassays on paper-based substrates may be an interesting alternative for solid support due to the numerous advantages of paper (abundance, inexpensive, sustainable) and variety of inkjet printing techniques available for its functionalization. 

The Team

The PHIShINg partners are: 

Dr. Philippe Banet: University of Cergy Portoise (UCG) , France

Dr. Jaroon Jakmune: Chiang May University (CMU), Thailand

Dr. Akhmad Sabarudin: Brawijaya University (UB), Indonesia

Contact: 

Philippe Banet : philippe.banet@u-cergy.fr

 

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FRESHBIO
PROJECT

1st Joint Call: FRESHBIO

This project will study the diversity, biological states and uses of freshwater biotas in the insular biodiversity hotspots of Southeast Asia. It is funded under the 1st Call of the Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background

Around the world, natural ecosystems are being put under increasing pressure by mankind. Maintaining high levels of biodiversity is vital to ensuring the continuing sustainability of ecosystems, and areas at particular risk are identified as ‘biodiversity hotspots’. There are three such insular hotspots in Southeast Asia, which are among the most endangered in the world.

However, there is a lack of consistent recording of animal and plant life within these ecosystems, which hampers conservation efforts. This lack of accurate and reliable databases in Southeast Asia, limits research on ecology and global climate change. Such research is becoming increasingly important as greater areas and populations begin to experience the effects of climate change – particularly those whose livelihoods depend on wildlife.

To get a clearer picture of the state of freshwater biotas in insular hotspots in Southeast Asia, urgent steps must be taken. Firstly, DNA-based methods of species inventory are needed to speed up the inventory of biodiversity, and accurate biodiversity mapping is urgently needed to guide conservation strategies.

For this work to take place, capacity building on wildlife forensics is needed to promote new and sustainable practices for species identification, while local populations living in these areas will also need guidance to adapt to the potential effects of biodiversity loss.

The project

The FRESHBIO project aims to address all of these issues through the following steps. Firstly, the team will support DNA barcoding campaigns to build-up reference libraries for automated species identification and its application in environmental DNA barcoding. They will then explore historical trends in population demography and species aggregation in ecological communities to address the state of aquatic biotas (expansion vs. contraction), and estimate the impact of land conversion on diversity patterns through a geographic information system approach. Finally, the project will explore the dynamics of adaptation and resilience of human populations to environmental changes.

The Science

Three main hypotheses are underpinning FRESHBIO: (1) DNA barcoding is an effective paradigm to document biodiversity as it is effective whatever the life stages, spectacular levels of cryptic diversity are often reported and libraries are publicly available. (2) Pleistocene climatic fluctuations predict diversity patterns. Emerged land in Sundaland represents only 50-75% of its maximal Pleistocene surface and its biotas are currently in a refugial state. By contrast, the Wallacea and Philippines hotspots have been continuously isolated from the main land during PCF. (3) Wildlife dependent peoples are sentinels of environmental changes. Resilience and adaptive responses of local fisherfolk to disturbed aquatic ecosystems may be assessed through the peoples’ capacity to anticipate ongoing changes. If addressed through time, people adaptive strategies might be indicative of early ecosystemic changes.

The FRESHBIO partners are:

Dr. Hendrik FREITAG: Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)

Dr. Daisy WOWOR: Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)

Dr. Nicolas HUBERT: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France Sud

Dr. Thomas von RINTELEN: Museum für Naturkunde (MfN)

Dr. Philippe KEITH: Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)

Dr. Edmond DOUNIAS: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Indonésie

Contact:

Nicolas Hubert: Nicolas.hubert@ird.fr

SKUD
PROJECT

1st Joint Call: SKUD

This project studies the emergence of Skin Ulceration Diseases in Edible Sea Cucumbers in a Global Change Framework. It is funded under the 1st Call of the Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation
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Background

Sea cucumbers are a delicacy across South and East Asia, yet with increasing market pressure and the effects of climate change, numbers are reducing at an alarming rate, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Sea cucumber fisheries are in a worse state than most fisheries globally.

Over the past 2 decades, the production a particular breed of edible sea cucumber, Holothuria scabra, has ensured sufficient production and made its aquaculture profitable. However, it is thought that increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification could be causing an increase in skin ulceration diseases in sea cucumbers. Such diseases could seriously affect their production, affecting not only the animals, but also the local economies which depend upon their growth and sale. 

The project

The SKUD project aims to study the emergence of diseases, especially SKUDs, in edible sea cucumbers outside Madagascar, especially in Thailand and France, within a global change framework.

The team aim to firstly make a survey of parasites and diseases of two edible sea cucumbers (Holothuria forskali in France and Holothuria scabra in Thailand, and will then determine the cause(s) of SKUDs on these species. With this information, the team will then assess the effects of increased temperature and decreased pH, at values commensurate with predicted global changes, on SKUD prevalence and development.

The Science

The SKUDs that are emerging diseases in new aquacultures will be characterized for the first time by adequate “high tech” methods including metagenomic analyses and the originality of the researches as well as the strength of the involved teams insures the diffusion of the results through international publications. The assessment of the possible impact of global change stressors on SKUD diseases will help forecasting and preventing their exacerbation in aquaculture conditions. The cost of possible mitigations through manipulation of temperature and/of pH in aquaculture basins can then be assessed.

Commercially, the understanding of sea cucumber diseases is of the utmost importance as these fisheries expand worldwide with a Chinese market pressure of increasing affluence. Sea cucumbers have attracted much interest in export-oriented fisheries in at least 70 countries. Collecting sea cucumbers for production of ‘‘bêche-de-mer’’ or ‘‘trepang’’ (the dried body wall) and export to the Asian dried seafood market has a long history in the productive waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The majority (66%) of sea cucumber fisheries involved small-scale fishing operations for export. The Team:

The SKUD partners are:

Igor EECKHAUT/ University of Mons (Belgium)

Anchana PRATHEP / Prince of Songkla University (Thailand)

Philippe DUBOIS / Free University of Brussels (Belgium)

Nadia AMEZIANE / Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Station de Biologie Marine de Concarneau (France)

Contact:

Igor Eeckhaut: Igor.Eeckhaut@umons.ac.be

FarmResist
PROJECT

1st Joint Call: FarmResist

This project studies the occupational risks for animal farmers to be colonised with animal-associated resistant bacteria, impact on the faecal microbiota. It was funded under the 1st Call of the Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background:

Animal farming is a worldwide industry, with millions of people involved in the production of animal products every day. Protecting farmed animals from disease and infection is therefore vitally important not only for livestock and consumer wellbeing, but also for those working within the farming industry.

The Project:

The FarmResist project will use a “One Health” approach, to investigate the occupational risk for pig and poultry farmers of of catching animal-associated ESBL-E and colistin-resistant enterobacteria. It is hoped that this research will lead to the development of preventive measures for avoiding the transmission of zoonotic bacteria from animal to farmers, as well as reducing the spread of antibioresistance in the environment.

The Science:

The researchers will study both small family farms and medium-big industrial farms. At each farm, faecal samples of farmers, animals (included pets and rodents) will be collected. The prevalence, genotyping and microbiota diversity will be studied by using both culture-dependent methods, molecular biology and next generation sequencing.

The association between farm parameters and antimicrobial resistance will be analysed in order to propose preventive measures to avoid the transmission of zoonotic bacteria from animal to farmers and to reduce the spread of antibioresistance in the environment.  The influence of faecal carriage of ESBL-E or colistin resistant bacteria on the faecal microbiota of farmers will then also be studied.

The Team:

The FarmResist partners are:

  • Visanu Thamlikitkul, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University.
  • Suwit Chotinun, Chiang Mai University, poultry clinic.
  • Morand Serge, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Faculty Veterinary Technology
  • Jean-Marc Rolain, URMITE- IHU Méditerranée Infection, Valorization and Transfer, Marseille, France
  • Morand Serge, CNRS- Cirad, France
  • Markus Hilty, IFIK, Bern University, Switzerland
  • Oppliger Anne, IST, Lausanne University, Switzerland

Contact:

Anne Oppliger: Anne.Oppliger@hospvd.ch

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DeZi
PROJECT

1st Joint Call: DeZi Project

This project aims to produce a single component pentavalent Dengue-Zika vaccine preventing antibody-dependent enhancement phenomenon. It is funded under the 1st Call of the Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background:

Dengue and Zika are viruses spread through mosquito bites which can cause serious illness and even death. They are highly prevalent both in Southeast Asia, with an estimated 390 million dengue infections worldwide every year.[1] The number of outbreaks for both viruses is increasing every year, and recent cases of Zika outbreaks in French Polynesia and Brazil in 2013 and 2014 made news around the world.  As of 2016, the WHO has declared ZIKV infection is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

There is currently no specific treatment for either the Dengue or Zika viruses. A Zika vaccine is yet to be discovered, while despite two decades of dengue vaccine development, only one vaccine has been licensed in a few countries, which not cover all 4 types of the virus, and cannot be used by all ages – leaving those under the age of 9 or over 45 at risk.

The Project:

The DeZi project aims to address this issue by proposing new concepts for vaccine development. It hopes to addresses the bottleneck of flavivirus vaccine development starting from the hypothesis that development of these vaccines should be based on an integrative approach by studying cross-reactivity among flaviviruses.

To do this, the project team will firstly transfer technology of DNA vaccine production from France to Thailand. Once in place, they will aim to demonstrate that their vaccine protects against dengue virus.

The Science:

The researchers believe that a more efficient dengue vaccine should contain either T-cell epitopes or both B-and T-cell epitopes. The best animal model for prediction of vaccine efficacy should demonstrate its protection against the effect of ADE, not only primary infection.

This would prevent imbalanced immunity among the four serotypes upon tetravalent live attenuated dengue vaccine. In addition, these T cells epitopes will allow us to create a single component vaccine composed of multiple Dengue & Zika epitopes (4DZVx), which will cover concurrently the four DENV serotypes and ZIKV at the same time.

The team hypothesise that balanced immunity against all four DENV serotypes and ZIKV with a protective T cell response can prevent the risk of ADE. The 4DZVx will include the T cell component of the anti-DENV and -ZIKV response. Ideally, the T-cell response will protect against the adverse effect of ADE due to pre-existing antibodies induced following primary infections as occurring in endemic countries.

 

The Team:

The DeZi partners are:

Contact:

Anavaj Sakuntabhai: anavaj@pasteur.fr 

 

[1] https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dengue-fever-reference#1

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CAREChild
PROJECT

1st Joint Call: CAREChild

This project aims to contain antibiotic resistance and find measures to improve antibiotic use in pregnancy, childbirth and children. It was funded under the 1st Call of the SEA-Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Background

Antibiotics are life-saving medicines, but increasing antibiotic resistant bacteria are making common infections increasingly difficult to treat, and antibiotic resistance is now recognised as one of the greatest threats to global health. The main cause of this increasing resistance is the unnecessary use of antibiotics, which forces bacteria to adapt in the so-called “selective pressure”.

During normal childbirth without complications, antibiotics should not be used; however, reports and small studies from Asian countries show alarmingly high levels of antibiotic use in these cases. Similarly, there is a worrying trend of over-prescribing and poor use of antibiotics for treating children under five years of age.  Focusing particularly on Lao PDR, little is known about the situation of potential overuse and misuse of antibiotics during childbirth and for treating children.

The Project

The CAREChild project aims to understand and improve antibiotic use in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and children in Lao PDR with the long-term aim of containing antibiotic resistance.

The team will explore and assess perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and reported practice as well as actual practice among health care providers and in the community, to estimate antibiotic prescribing to estimate the situation of antibiotic resistance, focusing particularly on ESBLs in Escherichia coli in infections and carriage in faecal samples.

The Science

The study is an intervention study with a formative phase leading to the development of the intervention, which will be implemented and evaluated through time series analysis. The content of the innovative intervention will be based on qualitative and quantitative findings from the formative phase and contain two components: a participatory and process-based educational intervention aimed towards health care providers, and an mHealth component aimed at pregnant women, and mothers of children under five years of age.

The main outcome measure will be the proportion of uncomplicated vaginal deliveries during which antibiotics are used, and to show changes over time during the intervention using time series analysis over a 24-month period. Additional outcomes will be knowledge and attitudes to antibiotic use and resistance, as well as antibiotic resistance levels.

Data will be collected using structured interviews regarding knowledge and practice of antibiotic use and resistance. In addition, individual interviews and focus group discussions will be held with relevant stakeholders to further understand perceptions about antibiotic use and resistance and how the situation can be improved.

The study is expected to generate important knowledge regarding antibiotic use and resistance development in Lao PDR, but with potential implications to other South East Asian countries and beyond. Furthermore, our project aims to strengthen collaborative ties between Laos-Sweden-Vietnam and to create a long-term collaboration between the partner countries that will serve the purpose of exchange of knowledge and expertise between those countries.

The Team:

The CAREChild partners are:

  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Ministry of Health, Department of Food and Drugs, Vientiane Laos
  • University of Health Sciences, Vientiane Laos
  • National Institute of Public Health, Vientiane Laos
  • Health Department of Vientiane Capital, Vientiane Laos
  • Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hanoi University of Pharmacy, Hanoi, Vietnam

Contact:

Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg: Cecilia.Stalsby.Lundborg@ki.se

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