Every day, nearly 70 volunteers are seen at the two Guinean vaccination centres, managed by the non-governmental organisation Alima, Inserm's partner in the project. A report at the heart of the PREVAC clinical trial.
"A year after starting the first vaccinations, virtually all the participants have attended the various follow-up visits at the Mafèrinyah center and 95 % have attended those at Landréah. It’s quite remarkable - the participants all want to contribute to the effort to fight Ebola", emphasizes Keira Camara, investigating physician at the Landréah vaccination center in Guinea.
And yet, against a background of trauma and general distrust surrounding Ebola, the challenge facing Inserm and its partners in the PREVAC (Partnership for Research on Ebola VACcination) consortium has been considerable: launch a large-scale clinical trial in Africa to test the most promising vaccination strategies against this scourge which claimed almost 30 000 victims in 2014.
On the ground, one of the keys to success involves collaboration between the team of anthropologists from PREVAC and the "community champions", whose authority and legitimacy recognized by the local communities help to get the latter on board. In the neighborhoods, the PREVAC team, supported by the community champions, steps up the awareness-raising meetings in order to recruit volunteers.
For Sylvain Faye, anthropologist of the clinical trial, "there is no doubt that the realization that a vaccine trial is also a social process" is one of the major strengths of the project. 5 000 people, half of whom children, will ultimately be enrolled in the trial in the four participating countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone).
One and a half years after the start of the operation, almost 1 000 people have already been enrolled in Guinea and 4 500 across the four countries. Each day, almost 70 volunteers are received in Guinea’s two vaccination centers, which are managed by the non-governmental organization Alima, partner of Inserm for the project. A plunge into the heart of PREVAC.
Photo: © Inserm/Delapierre, Patrick