The legacy of ZikaPLAN: a transnational research consortium addressing Zika

Annelies Wilder-smith, Elizabeth B. Brickley, Ricardo Arraes De Alencar Ximenes, Demócrito De Barros Miranda-filho, Celina Maria Turchi Martelli, Tom Solomon, Bart C. Jacobs, Carlos A. Pardo, Lyda Osorio, Beatriz Parra, Suzannah Lant, Hugh J. Willison, Sonja Leonhard, Lance Turtle, Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira, Rafael Freitas de Oliveira Franca, Louis Lambrechts, Johan Neyts, Suzanne Kaptein, Rosanna PeelingDeborah Boeras, James Logan, Helen Dolk, Ieda M. Orioli, Andreas Neumayr, Trudie Lang, Bonny Baker, Eduardo Massad, Raman Preet

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Global health research partnerships with institutions from high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries are one of the European Commission’s flagship programmes. Here, we report on the ZikaPLAN research consortium funded by the European Commission with the primary goal of addressing the urgent knowledge gaps related to the Zika epidemic and the secondary goal of building up research capacity and establishing a Latin American-European research network for emerging vector-borne diseases. Five years of collaborative research effort have led to a better understanding of the full clinical spectrum of congenital Zika syndrome in children and the neurological complications of Zika virus infections in adults and helped explore the origins and trajectory of Zika virus transmission. Individual-level data from ZikaPLAN`s cohort studies were shared for joint analyses as part of the Zika Brazilian Cohorts Consortium, the European Commission-funded Zika Cohorts Vertical Transmission Study Group, and the World Health Organization-led Zika Virus Individual Participant Data Consortium. Furthermore, the legacy of ZikaPLAN includes new tools for birth defect surveillance and a Latin American birth defect surveillance network, an enhanced Guillain-Barre Syndrome research collaboration, a de-centralized evaluation platform for diagnostic assays, a global vector control hub, and the REDe network with freely available training resources to enhance global research capacity in vector-borne diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2008139
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue numbersup1
Early online date4 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 4 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project, ZikaPLAN is funded by the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. h2020 health 734584. Some authors have received additional research funding. The Microencephaly Epidemic Research Group (MERG) has received additional funding from Wellcome Trust UK, Department for International Development UK, Medical Research Council UK, the Brazilian funding through CNPq, Secretaria de Vigil?ncia de Sa?de (SVS), and Funda??o do Amparo a Ci?ncia e Tecnologia (FACEPE). LT is supported by a Wellcome Trust fellowship [205228/Z/16/Z]. The Latin American Congenital Malformations Network (ReLAMC) group has received additional Brazilian funding through DECIT, CNPq (440614/2016-3), and CAPES (88887.130724/2016-00, 88887.130724/2016-00) We acknowledge the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health of Ume? University, Sweden for hosting the ZikaPLAN consortium, and express our appreciation for the extremely professional and always friendly project office. We thank all our consortium members and their institutions, and we are thankful to many other institutional staff members (all the administrators and financial managers) who participated and supported the implementation of the ZikaPLAN project in different capacities. Our special thanks to Prof Laura Rodrigues from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, for her pioneering spirit, foresight and epidemiological acumen in setting up the Microencephaly Epidemic Research Group (MERG) together with many ZikaPLAN colleagues in Brazil very early on in the Zika epidemic even before EU funding was available. We would like to thank Koren Wolman-Tardy and Margaux Luciani for their professional approach to developing videos, organizing the dissemination events, and coordinating the ZikaPLAN newsletters and website. We are grateful to our Scientific Advisory Board members (Duane Gubler, James Sejvar, Herman Goossens) and Ethics Advisory Committee member (Anna Durbin) for their timely support and guidance at various stages of the project. We deeply appreciate our collaborative work with ZIKAction (Grant Agreement No. 734857) and ZIKAlliance (Grant Agreement No. 734548) which allowed us in collectively advancing common efforts and strengthening the research output as one voice creating larger impact thereby setting an example of collaboration and data sharing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Zika
  • congenital Zika syndrome
  • birth defect
  • epidemic preparedness
  • research capacity building
  • European Commission
  • microcephaly
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • encephalitis
  • sustainability
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Zika Virus
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Brazil
  • Adult
  • Zika Virus Infection - complications - epidemiology - prevention & control
  • Child
  • Zika Virus Infection/complications


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