The Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group (GHID) at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is an implementing partner in a 60-month-long Neonatal sepsis clinical trial, SNIP-AFRICA.
Dr. John Humphrey Amuasi, the research leader for the Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group (GHID) at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) will be the Principal Investigator for the study in Ghana. In addition to this, the research group will lead the Capacity Building Work Package for the SNIP-AFRICA Consortium.
The Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group is one of ten project partners from European and African countries constituting the SNIP-AFRICA Consortium that won a 7,168,901 million Euro Grant from the European Commission through the Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON). This grant will enable the Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group to collaborate with other partners and implement innovative strategies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neonatal sepsis in the region.
The Silent Epidemic
Sepsis is a potentially fatal illness that arises when the body’s response to an infection causes tissue and organ damage. When this happens in newborn babies it is referred to as neonatal sepsis.
It is estimated that worldwide, approximately 4 million newborns develop sepsis every year. 214,000 of these neonates are lost to antibiotic-resistant sepsis. The silent epidemic of difficult-to-treat newborn sepsis is particularly pronounced in low-and middle-income countries in Africa and hinders the achievement of UN SDG 3.2.
Sadly, some survivors of severe cases of neonatal sepsis suffer from adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes such as cerebral palsy, hearing loss, visual impairment, and cognitive impairments.
Severe Neonatal Infection Adaptive Platform Trials in Africa (SNIP-AFRICA) is a project that aims to reduce mortality among hospitalized neonates with sepsis in Africa. To better treat neonatal sepsis in the face of rising antibiotic resistance, SNIP-AFRICA seeks to develop a clinical research network for the implementation of adaptive platform trials in sub-Saharan Africa.
The trial will enroll 1,200 neonates across six neonatal intensive care units in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda with the objective of identifying optimal treatment regimens and doses for difficult-to-treat infections and sepsis. This adaptive platform design allows a more personalized study where researchers together with clinicians can modify the trial as it goes along based on the findings of preliminary data.
Partners in the consortium have a wealth of experience in neonatology as well as developing and executing randomized controlled trials, including adaptive studies, in Africa. Capacity building among African researchers and clinicians to develop and implement future adaptive trials is cardinal to ensuring longevity of the SNIP-AFRICA platform.
Dr. Amuasi was optimistic the group was best suited to partner in the SNIP-AFRICA trial, “GHID has extensive experience in conducting impactful clinical research and in building multi-country south-south and south-north research collaborations. Through SNIP-AFRICA, we aspire to build a robust network of investigators and sites capable of designing and conducting complex clinical trials in challenging environments,” he added.
Dr. Anthony Afum-Adjei Awuah, the Co-Principal Investigator on the project said, “The group’s innovative methodology and inter-disciplinary approach which engages partners across different disciplines including laboratory, clinical management, trials, drug development, social sciences, and policy contributed to the success of the grant application.
The SNIP-AFRICA project (101103201) is supported by the Global Health EDCTP3 and its members (the European Union and the EDCTP Association).
The project will be coordinated by Fondazione Penta ETS, with St George’s University of London responsible for scientific oversight.