01:00pm Wednesday 19 February 2020

New global clinical trials to tackle key health issues in low- and middle-income countries

The large-scale late-stage clinical trials will run from between 18 months and four and a half years, and will examine problems such as: reducing the number of people affected by TB in those who are HIV-positive; improving malaria diagnosis rates for pregnant women in Indonesia; and improving access to feminine hygiene products for adolescent girls in Kenya.

By bringing together three major UK funders of global health research, the Joint Global Health Trials programme aims to provide robust evidence for global health problems and to develop interventions that will improve health for populations in low- and middle-income countries.

Dr Mark Palmer, Head of International Strategy at the Medical Research Council which co-ordinates the Global Health Trials scheme, says: “This scheme will boost the number of large-scale clinical trials taking place in low and middle income countries and dramatically improve the evidence which doctors and policy makers use to make decisions in these settings. By focussing on clinical trials that take place at the heart of where these diseases have the greatest burden, we’re confident that we can significantly improve our understanding of some of the biggest killers in low and middle income countries. If we know more about treatments that are effective, and can be implemented safely in the communities that need them most, this scheme will have a tangible impact on the way people are treated for these conditions.”

Dr Jimmy Whitworth, Head of International Activities at the Wellcome Trust, adds: “Randomised controlled trials are the gold-standard by which health interventions are measured. This new joint scheme aims to accelerate the evaluation of practical and relevant healthcare interventions to tackle some of the biggest threats to human health on the planet. Each of the projects funded in this first call promises to make a significant impact in understanding how to meet those challenges and best treat patients in a clinically relevant setting.”

Professor Christopher Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development, says: “We are very enthusiastic about this programme, it provides opportunities to test out new approaches to improving the health of the poorest and will give us vital information on which interventions are proven to work. This will help us target UK aid more effectively in the future”

The third call for proposals has now been launched and details are available on the MRC website: http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Fundingopportunities/Calls/Jointghtrials/MRC006855

Proposals from the second call will be evaluated in June 2012.



Notes to Editors

Joint Global Health Trials – details of funded projects

Prof Feiko ter Kuile, Child and Reproductive Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Scheduled Intermittent-Screening with rapid diagnostic tests at ANC to reduce the burden of malaria in Eastern Indonesia: a cluster randomised trial.


Dr Andrew Weeks, Women and Children’s Health, University of Liverpool

Reducing complications from preeclampsia in low resource settings: a randomized trial of induction techniques comparing balloon catheter with oral misoprostol.


Dr Jeremy Day, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam

A clinical trial of dexamethasone to improve the outcome of cryptococcal meningitis.


Prof Diana M Gibb, HIV and Infections Group, Clinical Trials Unit, Medical Research Council

Reduction of early mortality in HIV infected adults and children starting anti-retroviral therapy – REALITY.


Prof Mark Hatherill, South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, University of Cape Town

A Randomised Controlled Trial of MVA85A Tuberculosis Vaccine Prime and Selective Delayed Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) Boost in Infants of HIV Infected Mothers.


Dr Badara Cisse, University Cheikh Anta Diop

Randomized trial of spatially targeted malaria control to virtually eliminate malaria in areas of very low incidence and patchy transmission in Senegal.


Prof Alison Grant, Dept of Clinical Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

TB fast track: can a point-of-care TB test-and-treat algorithm reduce early mortality on antiretroviral therapy?


Dr Thuy Le, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam

Itraconazole versus Amphotericin B for HIV-Associated Penicilliosis: A Randomised, Open-Label Comparative Study (IVAP).


Dr Penelope Phillips-Howard, Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University

The effectiveness of menstrual cups to reduce school absenteeism, and sexual and reproductive harms in adolescent Kenyan schoolgirls.


About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.


About the Department for International Development

The Department for International Development is leading the British Government’s fight against world poverty. www.dfid.gov.uk

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