African Congress for Clinical Trials

Lambaréné, 10-14 November 2019 (2nd edition)
Clinical trial in Sub-saharan Africa : Challenge or Opportunity ?
Research Groups

Dr. Bertrand Lell has been a medical researcher at the center since 1995. His main interests lie in evaluating interventions against malaria and epidemiological studies on various infectious diseases.

He supervises the data management and analysis activities at CERMEL and heads the health
and demographic surveillance system recently established at our site.



Demographic and health surveillance Group

Parasite immunology Group

Dr. Matthew McCall's research group focusses on the immunology of tropical parasitic diseases.


One long-term topic of interest is to understand the sub-optimal development of protective immunity against malaria in African children and how this could be improved. This can be studied variously in the context of naturally-acquired infection, attenuated whole sporozoite-based malaria vaccine trials and controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies. Better understanding hereof will be crucial to the rational design of next-generation malaria vaccines, with improved efficacy compared to the currently approved RTS,S vaccine.

A second topic of study is immunomodulation caused by Loa loa, a truly neglected tropical disease, also known as ‘eye-worm’. Subcutaneously migrating adult filaria and high densities of circulating microfilariae can persist for many years with apparently little host immunity developing, yet treatment can trigger potentially fatal inflammatory responses. Delineating this immunological 'double-edged  sword' may help to improve not only the management of loiasis, but also the safety of mass drug administration campaigns against other filarial diseases.


ACT 4GH Group

Since 2016, Dr. Ghyslain Mombo Ngoma has been in charge of the research team called ACT 4GH at CERMEL, which aims to act for global health through the development of antimalarials. The team has built around 10 years of scientific contribution in the clinical development of antimalarials. Amongst others it has contributed to the development of new antimalarial drug combination therapies, such as fosmidomycin and ferroquine, as well as KAF154 and KAE609. The team's work also focuses on maternal and child health, in addition to parasitic infections.


At the institutional level, Dr. MOMBO NGOMA heads the institutional ethics committee of CERMEL, for which he obtained funding from EDCTP in 2012, majorly contributing to capacity building.


Dr Mombo Ngoma also took part in the creation of a CERMEL partner research center, located in the town of Fougamou.


Biomédecine and social sciences Group

The research team "Biomedicine and social sciences" aims to enhance the knowledge and know-how needed for improving the health and well-being of the populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Its work forms part of the effort to better understand the pathophysiology of diseases and the development of appropriate interventions, as well as their deployment.

The activities of the team are subdivided into two complementary units.


• Biomedicine


This unit is composed of 4 integrated research axes:


1. Immune activation.

2. Diagnostic techniques and interventions based on the responses of the human host.

3. Vaccine research: characterization of vaccine-induced responses and development of new vaccines.

4. Public health interventions and social action.


• Social sciences


This unit consists of 3 integrated research axes:


1. The valuation and territorialization of biomedical research by societies in sub-Saharan Africa.

2. The understanding and improvement of scientometric indicators in sub-Saharan Africa.

3. The impact of research data produced in sub-Saharan Africa on the socio-economic development of the continent.