The Liberia-United States Joint Clinical Research Partnership known as PREVAIL today launched the Ebola Natural History Study at the C. H Rennie Hospital in Kakata, Margibi County. The C. H. Rennie Hospital is the third facility to join the study nearly four months after it began at the JFK Medical Center and the Duport Road Health Center on June 17 and July 22nd respectively.
The Hospital will enroll Ebola survivors into the study from nearby counties, including Grand Bassa and Bong Counties, while plans are being made to open additional sites in Liberia, including the Phebe Hospital in Bong County, which will accommodate survivors from Lofa, Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.
The study will investigate the variety of health problems faced by people who have survived Ebola virus disease and provide participants with referrals to other healthcare facilities in Liberia that have been designated by the Ministry of Health.
The study, known as PREVAIL III, is designed to better understand what health problems Ebola survivors experience and to determine whether they are the same or different from the health problems experienced by people who have recovered from other serious diseases. The study also will help to determine if people who survived the Ebola are “immune” or protected from getting Ebola in the future. In addition, the researchers will examine whether those who survived Ebola can transmit infection to their household contacts or sexual partners.
Participants will be asked questions about their health and receive a physical exam by a study physician that includes vision screening. The facilities have state-of-the-art equipment that can analyze blood samples for a variety of medical conditions. The equipment can also uncover eye problems that Ebola survivors are experiencing so that optimized clinical care can be provided to them.
“The PREVAIL research on survivors is driven by a responsiveness to take the research as close as possible to where survivors are concentrated”, said Dr. MosokaFallah, Principal Investigator for the study.
Since the study started on June 17, 2015, more than 600 Ebola survivors have successfully joined the study after completing the enrollment process, which includes attending a thorough information session, signing an informed consent to participate in the study, and a review of the participant’s medical history as well as medical and eye exams.
The study is expected to enroll approximately 7,500 people, including 1,500 Ebola survivors and 6,000 of their close contacts, within a five-year period.
The Ebola Natural History Study is led by a team of Liberians and Americans under the umbrella of a larger Liberia-U.S. bilateral program to build a clinical research partnership and infrastructure in Liberia.