You are here

Joint West Africa Research Group to Foster Biopreparedness

May 26, 2016
Collaborative initiative to focus on expanding research capabilities in region

The West African Ebola outbreak highlighted gaps in global public health response and a lack of countermeasures. The DoD invested in a strategic initiative called the Join West Africa Research Group (JWARG) to leverage existing research platforms and relationships to improve biopreparedness in the region.

This new program is a collaboration between MHRP/WRAIR, Naval Medical Research Unit 3-Ghana Detachment, the Austere Environment Consortium for Enhanced Sepsis Outcome and other military, government and academic institutions. Partners will build upon existing programs in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia with initiatives focused on lab strengthening, biosurveillance and countermeasure development.

The goal of the collaboration will be to conduct research that builds capabilities complementary to the work of USG partners that will contribute to health diplomacy in the region, engage key community stakeholders and encourage adherence to Good Participatory Practices. MHRP has been developing research infrastructure and capability in Nigeria for the last 10 years. The Walter Reed Program-Nigeria began an Ebola vaccine study in 2015 and will begin another (RV456) in 2016.

Laboratory training began in May, and clinical training will take place in June. The trainings will focus on skills needed to execute the upcoming JWARG biosurveillance protocol.