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Tampere University to participate in a coronavirus study in Mali

Published on 27.4.2020
Tampere University
naisia ja lapsia afrikkalaisessa kylässä
Professor Per Ashorn and Senior Research Fellow Ulla Ashorn from Tampere University are among the principal investigators of a coronavirus study that starts in Mali, West Africa. The international research project strives to prevent the spread of the disease in Mali.

The aim of the study is to investigate the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on health services and to assess the exposure of health care workers to the virus. The intention is also to describe patients with a suspected coronavirus infection, patients who are likely to be infected, and patients whose infection has been confirmed. In addition, the study assesses the prevalence and risks of the spread of the disease in the close circle of the patients and in children under five years of age.

“The coronavirus epidemic is feared to have a particularly devastating health impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, where treatment and prevention are difficult for many reasons,” Per Ashorn says.

“Through our research, we aim to identify issues that could facilitate the containment of the epidemic in African conditions. We will work closely with the government of Mali and strengthen the country’s health care system,” Ashorn adds.

The funding now received will be used mainly to purchase diagnostic tests, digital thermometers, oxygen monitors and other equipment, and to employ Malian staff.

The research is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by $1 million.

In 2019 and early 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $20 million for the Impact of azithromycin MDA on mortality among young children in Mali project, which Tampere University is coordinating. The large-scale trial is studying whether mass administration of the azithromycin antibiotic to asymptomatic children can reduce the high mortality rate of 1-11-month-old babies.

The new coronavirus study will benefit from the research organisation already set up in Mali for the azithromycin trial.

Professor of Paediatrics Per Ashorn, per.ashorn [at]

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Photograph: Ulla Ashorn