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Call For proposal 2019-2020 Influenza Season

LINKING CLINICAL TO VIROLOGICAL AND GENETIC DATA IN EXISTING INFLUENZA SURVEILLANCE NETWORKS

INTRODUCTION

The biannual seasonal influenza vaccine strain selection process which drives the vaccine composition decisions remain challenging and enhanced data from surveillance monitoring and virology sequencing (timeliness, geographic representativeness, clinical relevance) are most needed.

After seven years supporting active surveillance of influenza at hospital level through the implementation of the Global Influenza Hospital Surveillance Network (GIHSN), the Foundation for Influenza Epidemiology is evolving toward the development of capacities to link clinical and virological data in Influenza positive patients.

Participation of experienced hospital surveillance sites and virology laboratories with sequencing capacities is sought.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Research objectives of the 2019 Call for Proposal aims at supporting international capacities developed through the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) of laboratories to increase the availability of clinical information linked with genetic sequencing of influenza strains to expand the support of the biannual vaccine strain selection process of the WHO’s formal recommendation for the composition of human influenza vaccines.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Applicants should be non-profit public institutions and will be asked to provide substantiating documentation when submitting their application. (See How to apply)

All sites must show an excellent connection between a hospital surveillance platform and a virology laboratory in their country, allowing the possibility for confirmed influenza by RT-PCR and subsequent sequencing of the positive specimens in less than 7 days. If no capacities to generate genetic sequence data (GSD) are available, the site may ship its specimens to the GIHSN sequencing platform at the National Influenza Center in Lyon, France, under the Terms of Reference for sharing materials in GISRS. Shipment expenses will be borne by the GIHSN.

All sites must have the capacity to submit GSD, and submit at a minimum consensus data of the HA and NA segments to the GISAID EpiFlu™ database. Clinical information will be captured in the current e-CRF used by the GIHSN and includes the link with the GSD and other metadata shared through GISAID.

SELECTION PROCESS

Applications from Institutions meeting the eligibility criteria will be reviewed and evaluated by the Independent Scientific Committee of the Foundation according to predefined quality criteria.

Main evaluation criteria are:

  • Laboratory capacities: The existing full genome sequencing capacities on site or proposed referral system to sequence Influenza positive samples should be described.
  • Targeted sample size: The estimated number of sequenced samples expected to be shared via the GISAID platform during the Influenza season is between 50 and 100.
  • Clinical information data collection capacities: The site needs to describe the way and the method to access clinical information (using laboratory referral system or using targeted clinical sampling).
  • Timelines of the data availability: Sites should be able to upload data into the e-CRF on a weekly basis. Sites with sequencing capacity should upload data in GISAID on a weekly basis Sites using the GIHSN sequencing platform should be able to have their samples shipped in regular batches at least 3 weeks before the WHO strain selection meeting.
  • Geographical representativeness: sites in countries under-represented in GISAID will be given funding priority.

Cost-effectiveness: the relevance of the cost in relation to expected sample size will be considered. The Foundation is providing catalytic funding and is not expected to fund the full cost of the clinical and sequencing data collection. In September, the Executive committee of the Foundation will select institutions and the amount of the grant provided during the season in order to support the implementation.

A formal letter from the Foundation describing grant modalities and payment milestones will be sent to the sites selected by mid October 2019.

HOW TO APPLY

The call has been posted on the www.gihsn.org website on May 30th, 2019.
All applications have to be submitted on-line on the GIHSN website before July 15th, 2019 via the application template.

Requirements for applicants:
To be eligible, applicants should be not-for-profit public institutions.

The following documents should be provided along with the proposal to attest the above status:

  • Last annual report
  • Financial report (including earnings and balance sheet) from last year
  • Bank account number (official bank document – with swift number)
  • List of the members of the board of governors (i.e. group of people who jointly oversee the activities of the laboratory)
  • Copy of the decree of creation (i.e. Statutory act returned by the president of the republic or the head of government)

The data sharing modality document will be requested to be signed by the selected sites at the start of the season.

 

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