Karen Barnes presenting at the Global Forum on Bioethics in Research side meeting in South Africa 2018. Credit; Wellcome Trust / SAMRC

Sharing our latest Asia and Africa regional activities at 4 conferences

14 December 2018

Professor Karen Barnes presents WWARN’s approach to equitable data sharing at the Global Forum on Bioethics in Research satellite meeting in South Africa, 13-14 November 2018.


The Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) is an informal partnership established by a number of organisations including the Wellcome Trust, World Health Organization, Medical Research Council, and European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

Professor Barnes, Head of the WWARN Pharmacology Group & Southern African Regional Centre, attended this year’s GFBR satellite meeting, which provides a platform for individuals from low- and middle-income countries to discuss ethical issues affecting their research practice.

WWARN presented 3 of our approaches that promote greater equity in data sharing:

  1. Sharing the WWARN Malaria Clinical trials Toolkit - provides the tools and resources needed to design, plan and collect data - free to download over 100 resources.
  2. WWARN’s Study Groups - encourage researchers to share, analyse and publish results together as a collective. Professor Barnes explains the Study Group approach in detail in a recent news article.
  3. Building capacity - promotes equitable research approaches. WWARN offers training and mentorship in data management, statistical analysis and manuscript writing to researchers collecting data so that they can develop their own research agenda. 

Prof Barnes highlighted a number of current challenges in achieving equitable data sharing, most notably funding, “Equitable data sharing requires investment in readily accessible resources to enhance the quality and efficiency of primary data collection and secondary analyses. Specific, medium to long term funding is essential for sustaining impactful data platforms like WWARN and IDDO to support poverty related disease research communities.”

Mehul Dhorda, Head of WWARN’s Asia Regional Centre, recently presented together with partners at the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit at the Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting 2018 (JITMM) in Bangkok. Mehul presented the TRAC II tracking artemisinin resistance collaboration preliminary programme results on behalf of project coordinator Rob van der Pluijm and project partners.

Asia regional colleague Suttipat Srisutham also presented results at JITMM from a recent study entitled ‘Molecular and in vitro surveillance of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) partner drug efficacy in the Greater Mekong Subregion’. For the first time, blood sample results were gathered and tested for upload on to WWARN’s Molecular Surveyor within 4 months from the time of specimen reception. The study collected and tested 2,474 specimens in 2016-17 at sites (1,800 for pfmdr1, 2,319 for pfplasmepsin2) resulting in an overall assay success rate of 79.55% for at least one marker.  

These early results demonstrate the feasibility of near-real time molecular surveillance for resistance to ACT partner drugs. Regional policy-makers and researchers can use the Molecular Surveyor to support malaria control and elimination efforts in the GMS. We expect the full results to be published in detail by the Mahidol University team in 2019.

Elizabeth Allen, Scientific Coordinator at WWARN’s Southern African Centre, recently presented open-access resources for those working in drug safety research, particularly in low- and middle-income countries at the 2018 International Society for Pharmacovigilance Annual Meeting. Resources on the Global Pharmacovigilance website complement the clinical trial safety tools in the WWARN Malaria Clinical Trial Toolkit, WWARN’s Antimalarial Medicine Quality work and WWARN safety meta-analyses.

The WWARN team also attended the 9ème Congrès de la SOAP in Benin to support our research partners in West Africa. Prof Oumar Gaye and Dr Magatte Ndiaye presented WWARN’s drug resistance and capacity building activities in the region.

Did you attend any of these events? Share your highlights and photos with us info [at] wwarn [dot] org or on Twitter @WWARN

Learn more about our study groups, Malaria Clinical trials Toolkit or regional activities. Email info [at] wwarn [dot] org.