Expert Group Meeting

Expert Group Meeting (6-7 April, 2017 at New Delhi)

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Prioritization of focus areas/research priorities

Meeting of experts

Participants – India: GoI Ministries -H&FW (ICMR); EA, C&I (Pharmexcil); S&T (DST); RIS

Africa: Regional bodies like EAHRC ; Pan-African bodies like AAS, AU

Multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary domain experts in the area of community, clinical, laboratory and health systems research across infectious and non-infectious diseases and Industry representatives from both regions
International organizations: Wellcome Trust, University of Cambridge, IAVI

Outputs -The meeting provided a platform for aligning the researchers, and highlighting the regional landscape to allow understanding of needs, strengths and gaps in both regions and aided in identification of the focus areas (disease specific/disease agnostic) of mutual interest.

Further, for each of the identified focus areas, expert teams represented by specific domain experts and led by a lead-coordinator from each side were formulated to aid in drafting of elaborate concept notes highlighting key research priorities based on feasibility (availability of resources) and significance (regional and global needs).

Based on the above, ICMR convened a consultation to help prioritize the critical research questions in each of the focus areas based on national needs and importance. For Health Sciences research, the priority research questions are outlined below:


S.No. Focus Area Research Priorities

Implementation and operational research for ensuring and enhancing quality and uptake of services (including for PrEP, self-testing and other novel testing methodologies, surveillance, among others) particularly to aid in UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and national ‘test and treat’ policy, including studies related to treatment outcomes (drug-resistance, failure and toxicities) and co-infections and co-morbidities.

Establish well-defined cohorts among high-risk groups (including related socio-behavioral and epidemiological studies)to enable research related to host and viral characteristics such as genetic and immune factors associated with transmission and treatment outcomes (immune-activation); studies on broadly neutralizing antibodies; and molecular signatures for latent viral reservoirs (towards ‘functional cure’).

2 Tuberculosis

Strengthening surveillance systems to enable development and validation (including clinical trials) of new interventions (point of care diagnostics/vaccines/drugs) and understand factors associated with treatment response and recovery.

Outlining drug-resistant TB profiles through robust surveillance systems to enable understanding of mechanisms and enhancing diagnostic predictability of drug resistance.

3 Cancer

Mapping and understanding epidemiology of key cancers (e.g., breast and colorectal cancer) through establishment of cancer registries

Study risk-factors associated with key cancers affecting the regions, including association with communicable diseases, nutrition, lifestyle, obesity and adiposity.

4 Emerging and re-emerging infections For prioritized diseases, understand zoonotic, human and other environmental factors (based on ‘One Health’ concept) contributing to emergence through establishment of effective surveillance network to identify infection reservoirs, and supported by an end-to-end platform for validation of new products and solutions.
5 Vector Control Develop insecticide resistance management strategies through effective surveillance mechanisms and enable knowledge sharing for outlining region-specific methodologies for vector control.
6 Health Systems Implementation research for establishing regional primary healthcare systems and frameworks to enable better management of public health challenges particularly for non-communicable disease and maternal, neonatal and child health related issues.