PANDORA Project to Strengthen Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness in Africa

Dr Matthew Bates, Senior Lecturer in Microbiology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, attended a kick-off meeting in Rome in June 2018 for his PANDORA project . The project (Pan-African Network for Rapid Research, Response and Preparedness for Infectious Diseases Epidemics) brings together a consortium of 21 partner institutions in Africa and Europe, including Dr Bates’ research organisation in Zambia, where he worked for seven years before joining the University of Lincoln.

Funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), this €10m project will engage in a range of activities designed to enhance preparedness to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, such as Ebola.

The project will support training workshops for first responders in all four African regions, equipping them with the skills to safely and effectively provide clinical care and diagnostic services to patients with suspected outbreak infections. Two new mobile laboratories will be established in Zambia and the Republic of Congo and surveillance studies will be undertaken in both humans and animals.

The PANDORA consortium.
The PANDORA consortium.

There will also be opportunities for African scientists to develop their research skills, the creation of online education tools and resources, and the development of ethical guidelines for research in outbreak settings. In the U.K the project is led by University College London, and also involves the Royal Veterinary College, partnering with research institutions in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Tanzania and Zambia.

The project will run for four years and there are possible opportunities for University of Lincoln students, particularly those studying the MSc Microbiology programme interested in human or animal infectious diseases, to undertake field work projects in Zambia, supported by the grant.

Any interested parties should please contact Dr Bates at mbates@lincoln.ac.uk / Tel: 01522 835 228.