PERISCOPE – international research cooperation in action
Starting the year with full force – In January 2020, Dimitri Diavatopoulos, Assistant Professor from Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands paid a visit to the PERISCOPE GaPs trial site in The Gambia. The immunologist and WP2- leader used his time in Africa to support the work at the site and meet the local staff. In the course of his one-week visit, he found the time to give a lecture on pertussis immunity at the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Medical Research Unit (MRC) Unit.
The PERISCOPE GaPs study (Gambia Pertussis Study) started in January 2019 and is part of the infant studies in the project. The main aim of the trial is to investigate the functional humoral and cellular responses to pertussis vaccination in infants born to mothers who are randomised to receiving or not receiving pertussis vaccine during pregnancy. The study is sponsored by LSHTM and is led by Dr Beate Kampmann and Dr Mike Okoye.
The trial involves the recruitment of 600 mother/infant pairs. In 2019, more than 104 pregnant women were randomised, 64 children were delivered so far and 31 infants received their first vaccinations. A second site for inclusion was opened. Already in the first trial year, initial analyses and antibody tests have been carried out.
With the visit of Dimitri Diavatopoulos, PERISCOPE is setting an example for powerful collaborations within a multinational, large-scale consortium.
Dimitri Diavatopoulos: 'It was fantastic to visit the vaccination site in Banjul, as well as the maternity ward and the laboratory site. The whole MRC team has put in an incredible effort to get the GaPs trial up and running. This trial is so important since it will give us insights on the impact of maternal vaccination on pertussis vaccine responses in their babies in a low-resource setting, but using all the state-of-the-art tools. It was really rewarding to meet all the people who make it happen.'