European Union Members States (EU-MS) share similar levels of development and access to care. Yet, key population health indicators vary widely across countries. The societal burden of these inequalities is high, and leveraging evidence to achieve better health outcomes is a priority. Within countries, Health Information Systems (HIS) are the cornerstone of public health interventions. In Europe however, health surveillance data are fragmented: EU-MS report different items to different international data collection exercises; there is variation between countries with regard to the amount of data collected, how it is generated, and its quality; and there are gaps in information. Whereas we have good mortality data, we are weak on morbidity data, on the quality of care for chronic conditions, and on evaluating patients’ experiences of disease. Overall, there is heterogeneity in the level of evidence that can be used by key stakeholders and in specific health-domains; and we do not know the extent to which differences in health information (HI) capacity might influence on the population burden of disease. This post-doctoral project aims to provide a “HI Impact Index” that could be used by EU public health agencies and policy planners to measure the uptake of evidence into policies and care, and ultimately their impact on population health overall and in priority areas for Europe: maternal and child health, chronic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, injury prevention, and patient reported outcomes and experiences. The research will be hosted at the Belgian Federal Research Institute for Public Health under the supervision of Professor Herman Van Oyen, coordinator of the upcoming European Joint Action on Health Information. This MSCA project is a unique opportunity for me to consolidate my credentials as a European public health researcher and expand my career possibilities beyond the perinatal health field.
Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth (99.9% fatality rate). Annually, ~58.000 people die from rabies, more than half of them are children. Many remain unvaccinated because of the high costs and the need for a cold-chain. Likewise, despite the existence of an excellent yellow fever (YF) vaccine, yearly ~30.000 people die of YF. The 80-year old low-tech production process does not allow to produce sufficient doses. There is now a real danger that major YF-outbreaks become uncontrollable. We aim at developing an efficient, safe, cheap, thermostable and easy-to-produce vaccine that can be needle-free administered, that protects against both rabies and YF, and that can be implemented in routine prophylactic paediatric vaccination. For this, we will employ our (P01a) proprietary infectious DNA (iDNA) vaccine technology. Simple, even needle-free injection of a low dose (1-10µg) of this easy-to-produce naked plasmid in mice and hamsters launches the YF vaccine virus and protects hamsters as efficiently as the commercial vaccine against lethal YF challenge. The iDNA YF vaccine will be used as vector to express relevant protective rabies antigens. Dual protection of such chimeric iDNA rabies/YF vaccine will be demonstrated against lethal rabies and YFV challenge in small animal models. Likewise, chimeric rabies/Japanese encephalitis and rabies/Zika virus iDNA vaccine candidates will be generated using this versatile platform. Next, induction of protective immunity will be demonstrated in rhesus macaques. The iDNA vaccines combine the benefits of both the YF live-attenuated vaccine (highly efficient life-long induction of immunity) and the thermo-stability, ease-of-production and the potential to customize (in response to emerging medical needs) of “classical” DNA vaccines. A path towards advanced pre-clinical and clinical development of such novel vaccines will be developed in compliance with European regulatory and WHO prequalification requirements.
Partners: University of Gothenburg, Technological University Dublin, OBU, ISAS CR, Örebro University, Yellow Window, UDEUSTO, SU, K&I srls, Sciensano (Belgium)...
The aim of RESISTIRE is to: 1) understand the impact of COVID-19 policy responses on behavioural, social and economic inequalities in the EU27, Serbia, Turkey and the UK on the basis of a conceptual gender+ framework, and 2) design, devise and pilot policy solutions and social innovations to be deployed by policymakers, stakeholders and actors in different policy domains. RESISTIRE proposes a three-cycle approach, combining quantitative and qualitative research with co-creation. The process is repeated every 6 months, each cycle producing operational results and integrating insights from the previous one. Each cycle involves: • Extensive mapping of policy and societal responses to COVID-19, secondary survey data, workshops with civil society, interviews with public authorities, and individual narratives collected from precarious and vulnerable groups, and translated into operational insights • Development of adequate responses and operational tools from a holistic perspective, with a co-design approach involving multiple stakeholders, with recommendations for actions for policymakers, stakeholders and actors in the field. • Launch of pilot actions to demonstrate the potential impact of a range of proposed solutions. • Dissemination of knowledge, development of policy recommendations and empowerment of stakeholders to exploit project results. RESISTIRE relies on a strong multi-disciplinary consortium of eleven European research, innovation, and design partners, with a well-established network of healthcare stakeholders. It is designed to achieve its results through multi-disciplinary research insights, cross-sectoral co-creation, solution development and a wide dissemination strategy. The project will provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of existing problems, as well as current and future priorities and solutions. As a result, it will contribute to the reduction of inequalities arising from COVID-19 policy and how to redress them.