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Launching of RV 466 and Biopreparedness Initiative in Nigeria

Lagos, September 13, 2017:  The Walter Reed Program Nigeria (WRP-N) officially launched the commencement of the Severe Infectious Disease study, clinically known as RV 466 and the Biopreparedness Initiative in Nigeria.  The Program hosted 22 international delegates and 30 participants from the US Navy, academia and affiliate foreign and local health institutions, who had come to prepare and share practical experiences on bio-containment of infectious diseases.  The team led by LTC Julie Ake, the Deputy Director, US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP), included facilitators from the University of Nebraska, US Department of Defense and participants from US Africa Command, US Army Africa (USARAF) and US Defense Threat Reduction Agency.  The team carried out site assessment visits to 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, the RV 466 study site and trained study participants from the Nigerian Ministry of Defence.  High point of the visit was the launching by the US Consul General, Mr. John Bray assisted by the NMOD Permanent Secretary, Amb. Danjuma Sheni.

The Nigerian Ministry of Defence (NMOD) Permanent Secretary represented by the NMOD Director of Medical Services, Dr. Toyin Akinlade, in her opening remarks said,”the JWARG study titled, Severe Infectious Diseases Surveillance and Detection in West Africa (RV 466) is to commence in three NMOD health facilities.  The study is aimed a t identifying common pathogens in West Africa that pose public health threat”. The training will strengthen the capacity of the participants notonly in the area of research but also to be able to detect and respond appropriately and promptly to public health emergencies”.

The US Consul General, Mr. John Bray also stressed the impact of the launch when he recounted that since 2005, the Walter Reed Program Nigeria has been working closely with the Nigerian Ministries of Defense and Health to implement HIV prevention, care and treatment through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).  Adding that, “the program has been expending more than $15 million annually, and has an extensive infrastructure that can be built upon for infectious disease crisis response.”

He further stated, “2015 marked the beginning of the Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG), led by the U.S. Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Institute of Research.  JWARG is establishing a bio surveillance network across Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia.  The RV466 study accomplishes bio-surveillance, starting with patients in two Nigerian Ministry of Defense and two civilian sites in Nigeria.  This study is the 466th study protocol from the Military HIV Research Program”.

The biopreparedness initiative is aimed at developing capacity of Nigerians in the management of highly contagious specimens and patient care.   The assessment of existing facility, clinical care and laboratory responses in Nigeria will aid in designing appropriate curriculum for the study.

While, RV 466 is a surveillance study to determine the risk and consequences of infectious disease in order to obtain an informed decision on tackling such diseases when they emerge.  The study will enroll adult volunteers with suspicious infections and will commence studies at the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba.