Programme Grant to develop regional centres in Asia and Latin America


Programme Grant to develop regional centres in Asia

       and Latin America for training in biosafety assessment

         for human health and the environment of the use of

               genetically modified disease vectors

     Business line on Innovative Vector Control Interventions

     
Background

Vector-borne diseases that occur in more than 100 countries and affect

about half of the world's population are emerging and resurging.

Consequently, they result in high burden of disease. This worsening

situation reflecting an inadequate impact of control measures is due to

various factors including poor implementation of interventions, limited

resources, and development of resistance to insecticides in vector

populations. It is generally recognized, however, that effective

prevention strategies can reverse this trend, and vector control is a

key component of such strategies aiming at interrupting transmission. In

addition, genome sequencing of the main vectors of malaria, dengue, and

Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) carries the promise of radically

improved vector control methods but this new approach will require

careful and coordinated development, corroboration, and field

evaluation.

TDR's new vision and strategy is designed to "foster an effective global

research effort on infectious diseases of poverty in which endemic

countries play a pivotal role".  Three major strategic functions will

guide the strategy:

- Stewardship for infectious diseases of poverty;

- Empowerment of disease endemic countries' investigators and

institutions; and

- Research on neglected priorities.

These will be made operational through business lines. Details of the

new strategy and the business plan can be found on TDR's website at:

http://www.who.int/tdr/about/strategy/strategy_06.htm. The business plan
contains 2 page summaries of the objectives, activities and outputs of

each business line.

The new strategy will contribute to the prevention of neglected

vector-borne diseases through its Business Line on Innovative Vector

Control Interventions research program whose goal is to develop and

evaluate improved and innovative vector control methods for the

prevention of neglected diseases. The specific objectives of the

research program are:

1. To promote the development and testing of new methods for improving

Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) vector mass trapping systems, and

support the generation and exploitation of Glossina genome sequence

data.

2. To advance the development and evaluation of new and improved

integrated methods for malaria and dengue vector control.

3. To progress the development and evaluation of alternative methods for

the prevention of re-infestation and the control of Chagas disease

vectors.

TDR has participated for the past ten years with other organizations, in

facilitating the development of genetically modified malaria and dengue

vectors for interrupting pathogen transmission. This activity is

currently mainly funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Grand Challenges for Global Health Initiative that supports projects on

vector control through genetic strategies. Therefore, TDR new emphasis

focuses on the requirements to be addressed for potential field

deployment of the genetic control methods. Most importantly, these

include ensuring the new methods are efficacious and particularly safe

for humans and the environment. In order to address this key aspect, TDR

new strategy will help in building capacity in Disease Endemic Countries

(DECs) to prepare them to acquire the knowledge and experience necessary

for the application of biosafety and regulatory principles and

practices. More specifically, it will help to strengthen their

capabilities for effective a nd timely assessment and m anagement of the

potential risks for humans and the environment of the use of genetically

modified vectors in view of the implementation of effective and safe

genetic control tools for interrupting pathogen transmission.

To that end, TDR Business Line on Innovative Vector Control

Interventions research Scientific Advisory Committee re-invites a call

for grant applications to develop regional centres in Asia and Latin

America for training in biosafety assessment and management for human

health and the environment of the potential use of genetically modified

disease vectors.  Following the review of the proposals received in

response to the January 2008 call for applications, appropriate

proposals were not identified for Asia . In addition, applications were

not received from Latin America and therefore the call is being

re-issued to address those two Regions only. Consequently, this call

does not concern Africa for which a regional training centre has already

been selected.


Objectives

The Programme Grant is designed to strengthen and promote the

development of one training centre in each of the Regions in Asia and

Latin America. The ultimate goal is to build capacity in DECs in order

to establish sustainable assessment and management facilities and human

resources that would ensure secured handling of issues associated with

potential field release of genetically-modified vectors in their

environment. The main objective for the centres would be to train

researchers, staff in control servi ces and decision makers in

assessment and management of biosafety for human health and the

environment and in the setting up and management of regulatory bodies.


Centre profile

This initiative is an open competition to establish one regional

training centre in each of Asia and Latin America. The centre is

required to organize and conduct one course per year, and to provide

facilities and personnel experienced in biosafety, ethics, and

regulatory principles to support the training course. The centre can be

developed either as a single institution or as part of a network

involving partner institutions (including international partners) that

focus on tropical diseases.  The centre will be selected based on the

following criteria:

- Demonstrated capacity for organizing courses in biosafety, ethics and

regulatory principles (including course curriculum and training

material)

- Demonstrated expertise of trainers in teaching courses and conducting

activities in biosafety, ethics and regulatory principles

- Availability of infrastructure and technical staff to teach 15-20

trainees per year (visiting and regular faculty members should be

identified, and letters indicating their willingness to participate

should be provided).

- Availability of internet access and internet based training capability

(robust internet connection, sufficient computers for 20 students,

dedicated server capacity, etc.)

- Long-term institutional commitment to biosafety, ethics, and

regulatory principles applications to tropical diseases, and development

of regional networks focused on this goal

- Ability to organize the first course in 2008 is desirable (but not an

absolute obligation).

Grant support

The successful centre will be awarded a maximum of US$ 50,000 to cover

course organization, and travel and living expenses of faculty and

"students". Support may be renewed annually subject to satisfactory

evaluation of the annual report. It is expected that the centre will be

supported for up to three years based on successful performance and

availability of funding.

Course details

Each course will be for duration of about two weeks and will be taught

in English (with possible combination of alternative language suitable

for the region). The centres are requested to provide in no more than

800 words, a description of the course curriculum, timetable, training

methods and materials, criteria for selection of the participants and

proposed dates for the first course (best between November-December

2008). Please note that the biosafety course addressing the use of

genetically modified dis ease vectors is not a standard medical

entomology course. However, it needs strong involvement of medical

entomologists as both trainers and trainees.

Content

The centres should use a multidisciplinary approach (molecular biology,

medical entomology, ecology, social sciences, ethics, etc...) to teach

the

principles, technologies, and practices that need to be implemented for

preventing potential harm for human health and the environment of the

use of genetically modified vectors. They would be expected to provide

training courses that include laboratory exercises, demonstrations, and

lectures covering essential methods, practical tips, and approaches

about the application of biosafety and regulatory principles. The

courses should cover the following topics, among others:

- Basic biotechnology principles for vector genetic manipulation and its

potential impact for human and the environment

- Safety, ethical, legal, and social implications of the use of

genetically modified vectors

- Identification of potential hazards, assessment and management of

risks for humans and the environment, and risk/benefit assessment of the

use of genetically modified vectors

- Biosecurity and biosafety principles and practices for assessment and

management of biorisks in laboratories

- Setting up and management of institutional or national biosafety

Review Boards and Ethics review Committees

- Introduction to development and application of biosafety regulatory

framework and related legal principles at national and international

levels for securing the development and use of vector control methods

based on genetic modification strategies.

Course participants

The course participants will be mainly regional based (e.g. from Asia or

Latin America). The course should be geared to researchers active in

medical entomology, staff in disease control services, and

decision-makers. The centres will be responsible for making calls for

applications to identify course participants and the general criteria

for selection of the participants should be identified in the proposal.

How to apply

All submissions of grant proposals should be preceded by a short letter

of intent (2 pages max) providing a brief narrative indicating project

title, Principal investigator, objectives, centre profile and course

description (content, participants and trainers). The purpose of the

request for letters of intent is to provide TDR with an opportunity to

preclude off-target proposals.

Letters of intent must be submitted no later than 12 May 2008 and full

proposals by 12 June 2008.

Letters of intent should be submitted by e- mail attachment as a "Word"

(*.doc) file to mailto:tourey@who.int  with copy to

mailto:johnsone@who.int. The authors of the letters of intent will be

informed within two days after submission about the appropriateness of

their proposal for the call.  They should then prepare full proposals

using the TDR "Collaborative Research Project proposal form" (Word

format) available for download at

http://www.who.int/tdr/grants/forms.htm or at request from TDR

communicatio ns unit. It should be indicated clearly at the bottom of

the proposal form cover page for 1.4a Intended Committee: "Business Line

on Innovative Vector Control Interventions" and for 1.4b Relevant

disease (s): malaria and dengue.

The applicants are allowed to go beyond the stated page limit and use up

to 10 pages for project description (not including references and CVs)

to provide full details of the proposal.

The completed application form (the original plus 2 copies) should be

sent to the Office of the Director at TDR (see complete address with the

form) for review by the Scientific Advisory Committee in July 2008. The

completed forms should comprise a single document that may be submitted

electronically to mailto:tdrgrant@who.int with copy to

mailto:tourey@who.int and mailto:johnsone@who.int. However, the

Investigator must follow-up by sending either the original form (with

original signatures), or the two pages which require original signatures

by mail or courier.

The successful applicants will be notified about their selection by 31

July 2008.

Mayores Informes: 

For additional information, please contact Dr Yeya T. Toure at:
mailto:tourey@who.int

Fechas límite: 

Letters of intent deadline: 12 May 2008