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Zika virus: causality, open science and risks of emerging infectious diseases

English title Zika virus: causality, open science and risks of emerging infectious diseases
Applicant Low Nicola Minling
Number 176233
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Sozial- und Präventivmedizin Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Infectious Diseases
Start/End 01.11.2017 - 31.12.2022
Approved amount 700'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Infectious Diseases
Methods of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

Keywords (5)

Flaviviruses; Sexual transmission; Zika virus; Seroprevalence; Causality

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Bei grossen Zika-Ausbrüchen auf den südpazifischen Inseln und in Südamerika zwischen 2013 und 2016 erkannte man, dass die Infektion mit dem Zika-Virus, das von Mücken übertragen wird, zu angeborenen Anomalien bei Babys führen kann. Heute weiss man, dass das Zika-Virus auch durch Geschlechtsverkehr übertragen werden kann. Seit 2015 haben Wissenschaftler annähernd 3.000 Forschungsarbeiten über die Zika-Infektion und ihre Komplikationen veröffentlicht und große Fortschritte erzielt. Doch es gibt auch weiterhin wichtige ungeklärte Fragen zu den Komplikationen einer Zika-Infektion, dem Risiko der geschlechtlichen Übertragung und der Verbreitung der Infektion in verschiedenen Bevölkerungsgruppen. Unser Projekt soll diese Fragen beantworten und die Ergebnisse öffentlich zugänglich machen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

Wir verfolgen drei Ziele: Erstens werden wir eine Internetplattform aufbauen, die mit Hilfe von Computertechnologien relevante Studien sucht und auswählt. Damit können wir die bestehende Evidenzbasis fortlaufend aktualisieren und eine „lebende systematische Übersichtsarbeit“ zu den Risiken von Zika-Komplikationen schaffen. Zweitens werden wir wichtige Merkmale untersuchen, die zum besseren Verständnis des Risikos einer geschlechtlichen Übertragung beitragen. Drittens werden wir den Kenntnisstand über die weltweite Verbreitung der Zika-Infektion ausbauen, indem wir Blutproben von Menschen aus unterschiedlichen Bevölkerungsgruppen, Ländern und Jahren auf das Vorliegen von Antikörpern gegen das Zika-Virus untersuchen. Mittels statistischer Methoden werden wir Schätzungen erarbeiten, wie lange Betroffene nach einer Infektion immun bleiben.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Dieses Projekt ist von erheblicher Bedeutung für die Erforschung der Zika-Infektion und ihrer Ansteckungswege. Die Ziele dieses Projekts liegen auf der Linie der Forschungsagenda der Weltgesundheitsorganisation und anderer internationaler Studien. Da wir im Rahmen der Offenen Wissenschaft arbeiten, werden unsere Forschungsergebnisse allgemein verfügbar sein. Unsere Untersuchungsmethoden zur Zika-Infektion werden auch für andere aufkommende Infektionen verwendet werden können. So werden wir dazu beitragen, dass die Welt besser vorbereitet ist, um auf Ausbrüche neuer Infektionskrankheiten zu reagieren.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.10.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Occurrence and transmission potential of asymptomatic and presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections: A living systematic review and meta-analysis
Buitrago-Garcia Diana, Egli-Gany Dianne, Counotte Michel J., Hossmann Stefanie, Imeri Hira, Ipekci Aziz Mert, Salanti Georgia, Low Nicola (2020), Occurrence and transmission potential of asymptomatic and presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections: A living systematic review and meta-analysis, in PLOS Medicine, 17(9), e1003346-e1003346.
Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections: a living systematic review and meta-analysis
Buitrago-Garcia Diana C, Egli-Gany Dianne, Counotte Michel J, Hossmann Stefanie, Imeri Hira, Ipekci Aziz Mert, Salanti Georgia, Low Nicola (2020), Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections: a living systematic review and meta-analysis, in medRxiv, 20079103v3.
Emergence of evidence during disease outbreaks: lessons learnt from the Zika virus outbreak
Counotte Michel J, Meili Kaspar W, Low Nicola (2020), Emergence of evidence during disease outbreaks: lessons learnt from the Zika virus outbreak, in medRxiv, 20036806v1.
WHO guidelines for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika vir
(2020), WHO guidelines for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika vir, World Health Organization, Geneva.
Impact of age-specific immunity on the timing and burden of the next Zika virus outbreak
Counotte Michel J., Althaus Christian L., Low Nicola, Riou Julien (2019), Impact of age-specific immunity on the timing and burden of the next Zika virus outbreak, in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 13(12), e0007978-e0007978.
Sexual transmission of Zika virus and other flaviviruses: A living systematic review
Counotte Michel Jacques, Kim Caron Rahn, Wang Jingying, Bernstein Kyle, Deal Carolyn D., Broutet Nathalie Jeanne Nicole, Low Nicola (2018), Sexual transmission of Zika virus and other flaviviruses: A living systematic review, in PLOS Medicine, 15(7), e1002611-e1002611.
Zika virus infection as a cause of congenital brain abnormalities and Guillain-Barré syndrome: From systematic review to living systematic review
Counotte Michel Jacques, Egli-Gany Dianne, Riesen Maurane, Abraha Million, Porgo Teegwendé Valérie, Wang Jingying, Low Nicola (2018), Zika virus infection as a cause of congenital brain abnormalities and Guillain-Barré syndrome: From systematic review to living systematic review, in F1000Research, 7, 196-196.

Datasets

Data used in the publication: Occurrence and transmission potential of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections: living systematic review and meta-analysis

Author Buitrago-Garcia, Diana
Publication date 31.07.2020
Persistent Identifier (PID) doi:10.7910/DVN/TZFXYO
Repository Harvard Dataverse


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Out of date before it's published Nature Index International 2019

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
170069 Zika virus: assessing causality and consequences of emerging infectious diseases 01.10.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
160909 Improving neonatal and infant outcomes using point-of-care tests for sexually transmitted infections in high prevalence settings (neoSTI project) 01.10.2016 r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
197831 Influence of sexually transmitted infections, genital tract infections and the vaginal microbiome on preterm birth 01.02.2021 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

BackgroundZika virus infection was established as a cause of congenital abnormalities, including microcephaly, and of Guillain-Barré syndrome during a Public Health Emergency of International Concern that the World Health Organization (WHO) announced in February 2016. The Public Health Emergency ended in November 2016 but substantial gaps remain in the causality framework of Zika complications, knowledge about population level susceptibility to Zika virus infection and the risks of the newly recognised route of sexual transmission of Zika virus. Objectives1. To produce a web platform that will allow the production and updating of living systematic reviews of evidence about Zika virus infection; 2. To estimate key parameters that will allow refined inferences about the sexual transmissibility of Zika virus in endemic and non-endemic settings; 3. To investigate the seroprevalence of antibodies to Zika virus in different geographic settings and to use seroprevalence data to allow estimation of the duration of immunity after Zika virus infection. Methods1. We will produce an open access web application to produce living systematic reviews that allow continual updating of evidence about causal associations between Zika virus and its complications, and emerging research questions. The application will automate searching and deduplication, use text mining and machine learning to assist screening and allow automated updates of review output for rapid publication. 2. We have developed a sexual transmission framework to identify key parameters needed to understand the potential for ongoing spread of Zika virus through sexual transmission. We will analyse data to determine the duration of persistence of Zika virus in semen, vaginal fluid, urine, breast milk and other bodily fluids. We will then use a transmission model to estimate the per sex act probability of Zika virus transmission. 3. We will use data from ongoing longitudinal studies and repeated cross-sectional studies in Nicaragua that will determine antibody levels to Zika virus using new diagnostic tests (taking into account exposure to dengue and chikungunya). We will apply “back-calculation” methods to determine the duration of immunity of Zika virus infection. We will also pilot a method for the collection and assessment of seroprevalence data collected in a range of settings that have experienced new Zika transmission since 2013 and where Zika is presumed to be endemic to improve understanding of population level susceptibility to Zika virus infection.Timeline: The project will last four yearsImportance and impactThis project has considerable importance for research on Zika virus infection and transmission. Whilst vaccine development is advancing rapidly, there are still important gaps in our knowledge about vulnerability to Zika virus in large proportion of the world’s population that lives in areas where Aedes mosquito vectors are distributed. The project objectives are aligned with the research agenda of the WHO and with international initiatives to increase capacity for preparedness for infectious disease pandemics. The outputs are therefore relevant to current research priorities. By working within a culture of open science and with the living systematic review network, our research outputs, including publications and software will be publicly available as quickly as possible.
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