Principal Investigator: John Edmunds, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
The study aimed to fit mathematical and statistical models to the epidemiological and clinical data that were being collected and collated by partner agencies during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In doing so, it has helped track changes in the epidemiology; analyse the impact of different countermeasures; and estimated the impact of different approaches to treat patients and control the epidemic.
The study developed a number of mathematical models of the spread of Ebola in West Africa and fitted these to emerging data using Bayesian methods. These models were used to inform a variety of decisions in real-time, and to evaluate the effectiveness of various interventions. The models and analyses, which were distributed widely to partners, were also used to help plan clinical trials more efficiently (in particular vaccine trials).
A series of district-level models were also developed (both deterministic and stochastic) to estimate the impact of Ebola treatment centres (ETCs) and Ebola Community Units (also known as Community Care Centres). The project further developed the model to assess the impact of the expansion of treatment beds in both Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In August 2014, the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa was declared an International Health Emergency by WHO and within a couple of weeks ELRHA launched a rapid-response call for research to combat the crisis. The UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Wellcome Trust and ELRHA opened a special funding window through the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme.
The aim of this emergency call was both to produce robust research findings that could contribute to the effectiveness of the response to the current outbreak and help to draw lessons for future outbreaks of Ebola and other communicable diseases. The projects funded will strengthen the evidence base for the Ebola response in topics ranging from diagnostics to anthropology, surveillance and disease control.
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