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Landmark Collaborative Research Project Launched to Advance Understanding and Control of MPOX

In a remarkable display of collaboration and scientific dedication, a consortium of esteemed institutions, including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), the National Veterinary Research Institute, the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, the Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford, the United Kingdom Public Health Rapid Support Team, and key stakeholders in Lagos and Rivers states, has officially initiated a groundbreaking multi-disciplinary research project aimed at addressing the prevailing knowledge gaps surrounding MPOX.

The research project, aptly titled “Epidemiological and Clinical Investigation of MPOX in Nigeria: A Multi-Disciplinary Research Project to Inform Case Management and Outbreak Prevention and Control,” carries the vital mission of bolstering public health responses to the MPOX virus, not only in Nigeria but on a global scale.

During the launch event held in Abuja, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director General of the NCDC, conveyed that the insights gleaned from this research endeavor would serve as a pivotal force in enhancing the detection, prevention, response, and control measures concerning MPOX in Nigeria and further afield. Represented by John Oladejo, Director of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response at the NCDC, Adetifa remarked, “Today, we embark on a journey of knowledge, unity, and unwavering determination. In partnership with dedicated researchers and esteemed institutions, we are poised to unravel the mysteries of MPOX, bridging the realms of clinical and One Health studies. This marks a significant milestone in MPOX research, underscoring our steadfast commitment to safeguarding the health of Nigerians and, by extension, the global population. Through collaborative efforts, we aim to draw closer to a world free from the threat of MPOX, securing the well-being of future generations.”

Chinwe Ochu, a co-project lead from the NCDC, further emphasized the profound impact of MPOX outbreaks on lives in Nigeria, particularly among vulnerable communities, highlighting the pivotal role played by the NCDC in crisis mitigation. Ochu underscored the paramount importance of surveillance and comprehending transmission within the One Health context, emphasizing the necessity of cross-disciplinary cooperation spanning human, animal, and environmental health to safeguard global well-being.

Gwenda Hughes, a co-project lead, Deputy Director for Research from the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, and a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, expressed her team’s enthusiasm in joining this dynamic collaboration. Hughes elaborated on the critical role her team would play in supporting Nigerian colleagues to address vital scientific questions through extensive research programs, including training local laboratory staff and field teams. The UK-Public Health Rapid Support Team has already provided laboratory equipment and shared expertise to bolster local diagnostic capabilities for MPOX. The ultimate objective, through this partner-led approach, is to enhance case and contact management and shape effective control strategies for MPOX both in Nigeria and on a global scale.

Adaeze Oreh, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, lauded the research project as a significant milestone in Nigeria’s journey to bolster its comprehension of MPOX and provide evidence-based solutions to enhance outbreak prevention, response, and control measures. She commended the project, titled “Epidemiological and Clinical Investigation of MPOX in Nigeria: A Multi-Disciplinary Research Project to Inform Case Management and Outbreak Prevention and Control,” for its commendable objectives.

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