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EDCTP also develops strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations around individual projects or consortia, with partners contributing co-funding or supporting complementary activities. Co-funding to the tune of €384 million has been leveraged through this mechanism, including €374 million from third parties (private and public bodies that are not members of the EDCTP Association).

A good example of this type of co-financing is the long-term partnership between the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund and EDCTP, which is supporting the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium for the development of a new paediatric medication, arpraziquantel, to treat schistosomiasis in preschool-aged children. A phase III trial has been successfully completed through this funding partnership and, with the announcement in February 2021 of their further joint funding of the ADOPT programme, EDCTP and GHIT are already co-investing in research to prepare the ground for large-scale access and delivery of arpraziquantel in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Uganda.

Both BRCCH and EDCTP had launched emergency COVID-19 calls in 2020. Recognising the potential for collaboration, the two organisations invited proposals from applicants keen to develop collaborative projects spanning consortia supported in the first round of funding. The partnership involves around €880,000 funding over two years.

Extending the EDCTP-funded TREATS-COVID study and BRCCH-funded MistraL project, one project is investigating the effects of community-led interventions, rapid point-of-care diagnostics and swab self-collection in mitigating the COVID-19 epidemic in Lesotho and Zambia. The TREATS-COVID study generated important data on SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in Zambia and risk factors for COVID-19 infection to inform public health responses.

A second new project is developing a rapid lateral flow diagnostic assay and a portable PCR device operated in a mobile suitcase for use in low-resource settings. This project is building on the EDCTP-funded Suitcaselab project, which developed a highly sensitive and specific field-deployable COVID-19 detection system, with comparable accuracy to gold-standard PCR testing, in collaboration with the BRCCH grantee for a rapid diagnostic test project and for the BRCCH peakPCR project. The third project, extending the EDCTP-funded COVAB project and the BRCCH-funded B-Cell Immunity project, is exploring B-cell responses in people with natural infections, with and without HV infections, and after vaccination.

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Another example of a joint initiative announced in February 2021 is the new partnership between EDCTP and the Botnar Research Centre for Child Health (BRCCH). Initial discussions held in 2020 led to a joint BRCCH–EDCTP Collaboration Initiative to support further work on three EDCTP-funded COVID-19-related projects (TREATS-COVID, Suitcaselab project and COVAB).

EDCTP enters into a range of funding partnerships, including joint and coordinated calls in areas of common interest. Joint fellowship calls, for example, have been organised with Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Fondation Botnar, TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and the Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF).

EDCTP has continued to seek opportunities to collaborate with other partners on joint funding schemes or specific programmes of work, including landmark projects on COVID-19 and parasitic flatworm treatment for children.

Partnerships with funders