Preparedness and research response to public health emergencies – the role of Global Health EDCTP3 

A key objective of Global Health EDCTP3 is to improve research capacities, strengthen epidemic preparedness and response to infectious diseases outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa, and enhance global health security. 

This objective is enshrined in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and the legal basis establishing the partnership, which has an overall aim to support the development of diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases.

In parallel, Global Health EDCTP3 also fosters collaborations with key global health players, such as the European Commission, the World Health Organization, the Africa Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention, the European Medicines Agency, the European Center for Disease Control and others, including product development partnerships and private partners.

In the context of a health emergency, Global Health EDCTP3’s response is put into practice through different actions and in partnership with key global health players. Some examples are presented below.


Emergency funding mechanism

When a health emergency occurs, Global Health EDCTP3 can activate its emergency funding mechanism to make research funds rapidly available. Each year, funding is set aside and can be mobilised in case of a Public Health Emergency (PHE). 


Response to the Mpox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

On 13 April 2024, a High-Level Emergency Regional Meeting was held in Kinshasa to discuss the latest outbreak of Mpox in the DRC and the potential risk of transmission to neighbouring countries and beyond. On the same day, the Ministry of Health of the DRC assessed the situation and considered the ongoing outbreak as a PHE requiring a rapid and efficacious response.

Considering the increasing numbers of cases and the growing public health risk posed by the outbreak, Global Health EDCTP3 activated its emergency funding mechanism on 30 April. It pooled resources up to € 6.5 million to launch an emergency call for proposals to support research and innovation projects that would advance the understanding of the ongoing Mpox epidemic in the DRC, contribute to the development of new vaccines and treatments, and improve surveillance strategies.

The call for proposals, which opened on 14 May and closed on 29 May, received 17 project proposals, involving 77 partners from 35 countries.  These proposals are currently being evaluated by independent experts with expedited timelines. The grant agreement preparations for selected research projects should start early July.


Cooperation with the European Commission’s HERA

The European Commission is part of the governance structure of Global Health EDCTP3, which includes several Commission representatives within its Governing Board, representing the different Directorate-General (DGs) involved in developing and designing relevant health and research policies.

One of the above-mentioned representatives is Laurent Muschel, acting Director-General of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), whose mission is to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to health emergencies.

On 15 April 2024, Global Health EDCTP3 Executive Director Michael Makanga met with Laurent Muschel to discuss areas of possible cooperation with HERA. The discussions focused on:

  • Joining efforts to address the ongoing Mpox epidemic.
  • Exploring avenues for tangible collaboration on antimicrobial resistance, neglected tropical diseases, and vaccines evaluation and manufacturing in Africa to ensure equitable access to essential medicines.
  • Aligning funding for research & development, particularly to enhance health security, surveillance and preparedness.
Participation in global health research fora 

In March 2024, Global Health EDCTP3 became a full member of  GloPID-R, a global coalition of funders that invest in research to improve pandemic preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks.  

As one of the 35 members, together with the eight observers, Global Health EDCTP3 is committed to playing an active role in this network to build a coordinated research approach towards preparedness and response to epidemics and pandemics.