An $8.5-million-euro project funded by the European Commission has been launched to accelerate progress in the fight against many poverty-related diseases.

Co-ordinated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, the programme essentially aims to reinforce the knowledge infrastructure across diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which alone account for 3.4 million deaths globally every year.

Speaking to PharmaTimes World News, a spokesman for the MHRA explained that the European Research Infrastructures for Poverty Related Diseases (EURIPRED) project "provides a platform for coordinating and facilitating access to unique biological materials and services to drive vaccine development studies and underpin basic research on infection, immunology and pathways to new interventions".

"Access to the robust infrastructure and facilities made available by the project will enable scientists to use these unique materials early in the research development pathway to select potential suitable candidates for future vaccine studies and formulation," he said.

The project will use a joint combined approach to strengthen efforts aimed at combating poverty-related disease, which will not only increase the required training and transfer of knowledge but also at the same time increase the effectiveness of research and reduce the duplication of efforts. 

"By establishing close collaboration with world class experts and pooling expertise a cross-cutting and wide ranging resource for Europe can be established," he told PT.

Scientists from 17 research partners in 10 countries - including King's College London, Kenya Medical Research Institute and China's National centre for AIDS/STD control and prevention - will collaborate in the programme.