Jessica Sieff | February 14, 2019
The University of Notre Dame will lead a five-year program to determine the efficacy of a spatial repellent product in preventing mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Chikungunya.
Unitaid will fund the $33.7 million effort. It is the largest research grant awarded to a single proposal in Notre Dame’s history. Unitaid is an international organization that invests in new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, more affordably and more effectively. It accelerates access to innovation so that critical health products can reach the people who most need them. Unitaid’s work facilitates large-scale introduction of health products through funding by the Global Fund, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and by governments.
“This grant will enable research with the potential to transform the lives of millions of people around the world who suffer from mosquito-borne disease,” said Robert J. Bernhard, Notre Dame’s vice president of research. “We’re grateful for the confidence Unitaid has shown in the University of Notre Dame to lead this program.”
The program will include two clinical trials, one in Kenya and one in Sri Lanka, as well as studies among displaced populations in Mali and in refugee settings in Uganda. The goal of the program will be to further generate evidence to support a recommendation to the World Health Organization (WHO) of spatial repellent use for public health purposes and to inform the optimal delivery and implementation of use within humanitarian response situations.
“The global burden of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue can overwhelm health systems,” said John Grieco, research associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and associate director of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame and principal investigator on the project.
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