Recap: 3rd Annual PAMAfrica Consortium Meeting
The 3rd PAMAfrica Annual Consortium Meeting took place on 7 November in Paris, France on the margins of the 11th EDCTP Forum. With the EDCTP Forum starting on the same day and several other consortia also hosting annual meetings, it had been agreed to hold an abridged meeting focused on Work Package progress, status and outlook, with a deeper dive into capacity building, focusing on the PhD and MSc students. A total of 42 participants attended the abridged meeting, including 11 PAMAfrica PhD and MSc scholarship students (three joined virtually).
PAMAfrica’s Coordinator Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer, MMV, welcomed participants and set the scene for the meeting. Wiweka Kaszubska, Vice President, Head of Product Development, MMV, moderated the rest of the meeting, guiding attendees through the agenda. She also closed the event by congratulating partners on the progress being made through the consortium and thanking everyone for their valuable contributions to furthering the malaria elimination agenda.
The main agenda items revolved around PAMAfrica’s five Work Packages. Speakers provided updates on the progress of each Work Package, with an outlook to the final phase of the grant.
Work Package 1: Joseph Okebe, Clinical Lead Global Health, Merck Group, provided an update on the status and outlook of new combination treatments for uncomplicated malaria case management, with a focus on antimalarial drug resistance and the need for new drug combinations.
Work Package 2 & 3: Preetam Gandhi, Global Program Clinical Head, Novartis, updated participants on progress being made in the first malaria treatment for vulnerable infants and neonates weighing less than 5kg (a new AL formulation), and together with Caroline Boulton, Malaria Program Head, Novartis, shared the status of the new non-artemisinin treatment for severe malaria (parenteral KAE609), highlighting the risk artemisinin resistance poses for severe malaria patients.
Work Package 4: Dr Eusebio Macete, General Director of Empresa Farmácias de Moçambique, spoke about building the research capacity of next-generation African scientists, providing an update on the activities that took place during this year. Nùria Casamitjana, Director of Training & Education, ISGlobal, presented the report from a successful Scientific Writing workshop that was delivered by ISGlobal. With PhD and MSc students in attendance, Eusebio and Nùria invited three students – Fabrice Mougeni (CERMEL), Alberto Chauque (CISM) and Emma Malinga (CERMEL) – to present their theses and research. A panel discussion facilitated by Helen Demarest, Director Clinical Operations (MMV), featuring all the students followed, where they shared their academic and professional ambitions, as well as some of the challenges they have faced throughout their studies.
Work Package 5: Olaug Bergseth, Associate Director, External Relations, MMV provided an update on PAMAfrica operations and implementation, and Tim Wells shared a recap of the decisions from the PAMAfrica Strategic Management Committee (PSMC) meeting that took place earlier in the day.
Following the meeting and a customary group photo, participants joined their SINDOFO colleagues for a joint lunch, ahead of the opening ceremony for the 11th EDCTP Forum.