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‘Emergency’ R&D funds released as Mpox surges in Congo

Image: Bevan Goldswain, via Getty Images

Europe-funded clinical trials partnership offers grants worth €5 million, with a two-week deadline

An Africa-Europe clinical trials partnership has announced “emergency” funding to bolster research and innovation on Mpox as cases rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The funding—announced on 15 May—will prioritise projects focusing on the development of vaccines and other therapeutics, surveillance, diagnostics and epidemiology.

The funding announcement comes a month after African governments and international health bodies met in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, agreeing on the need for “timely, accurate and quality information” on the Mpox situation in Africa.

Mpox is a viral disease that causes a rash and fever, and in some cases death. Interest in the disease has grown since an outbreak that started in 2022, in which tens of thousands of cases were detected outside the central and west African countries where it is traditionally found.

Cross-border risks

Since the beginning of the year, the DRC has reported 5,900 suspected cases of Mpox and 335 deaths. Cases have been reported in 23 of the country’s 26 provinces, and there is “serious risk for cross-border situations”, the European Union’s delegation to the African Union said in a statement.

“This initiative aims to deepen our understanding of the outbreak, develop prevention and management strategies, and enhance public health responses, including in a regional and continental perspective,” the EU delegation said.

The new programme will offer a total of €5 million through the Global Health European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership 3, a Europe-funded collaborative research initiative. Projects are estimated to receive €1.25m each.

Grants will prioritise projects that commit to share data quickly, to ensure that research findings can be immediately applied in clinical settings.

The deadline for applications is 29 May.