An action research project in support of the African response to the Covid-19 epidemic (ARIACOV) has just been funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) as part of the "Covid-19 - Health in Common" initiative. This two-year project aims to support the authorities of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Senegal in developing and strengthening national strategies to respond to the epidemic. 

ARIACOV is the result of a close collaboration between many IRD researchers and their partners working in West Africa (Benin, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal) and Central Africa (Cameroon and Democratic Republic of the Congo). ARIACOV is based on International Joint Laboratories (IJL), that are collaborative arrangements developed by IRD. Funded at a cost of €2.2 million, it will enable operational research to be carried out over the next 24 months in three areas: 

  • implementing a set of activities that combine training, equipment, and consumables, to perform direct diagnosis of the virus on a large scale and enable sero-epidemic population-based surveys to be carried out;
  • carrying out field epidemiological surveys and developing models;  
  • establishing or strengthening quantitative data collection mechanisms, coupled with qualitative/ethnographic surveys and the monitoring of social media and networks, to better understand how populations and health workers apprehend and interpret Covid-19 and government response measures.

Under the authority of people in charge of national programs in response to the Covid-19 epidemic, this project will be conducted in synergy with other projects implemented by the national authorities and by technical and financial partners in the countries of intervention.

ARIACOV is coordinated by Eric Delaporte, University Professor and Hospital Practitioner in Infectious Diseases at Montpellier University Hospital, Director of the IRD's TransVIHMI international research unit.

Partners of the ARIACOV project:

  • Institut de Recherche Clinique (IRCB) & Université Abomey-Calavi, Benin.
  • Centre de Recherche sur les Maladies Emergentes et re-émergentes (CREMER), African Center of Excellence for postgraduate medical education, Cameroon.
  • West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) & Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Ghana. 
  • Institut National de Santé Publique (INSP), Centre de Recherche et de Formation en Infectiologie de Guinée (CERFIG), Université Gamal Abdel Nasser de Conakry (UGANC), Université Général Lansana Conté de Sonfonia-Conakry (UGLC-SC), Centre d’excellence africain pour la prévention et le contrôle des maladies transmissibles (CEA PCMT), Guinea. 
  • Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), Democratic Republic of Congo. 
  • Institut de Santé et Développement (ISED, rattaché à la faculté de Médecine de l’Université Cheikh Anta Diop), Centre Régional de Recherche et de Formation à la Prise en Charge du VIH/SIDA (CRCF, an organ under the supervision of the Ministry of Health), Institut de recherche en santé de surveillance épidémiologique et de formation (IRESSEF), Université de Ziguinchor, CloudlyYours (technological aspect), Laboratoire de Bactériologie-Virologie du Centre Hospitalier National Dalal Jamm, Senegal. 

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For more information:
> AFD press release
A COVID-19 interdisciplinary and partnership-based scientific committee at IRD