An initiative of cooperation in Zika virus research: the experience of the ZIKABRA study in Brazil

on behalf of ZIKABRA Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Zika virus outbreak has triggered a set of local and global actions for a rapid, effective, and timely public health response. A World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, supported by the Department of Chronic Condition Diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections (DCCI) of the Health Surveillance Secretariat (SVS), Brazil Ministry of Health (MoH) and other public health funders, resulted in the start of the “Study on the persistence of Zika virus in body fluids of patients with ZIKV infection in Brazil – ZIKABRA study”. The ZIKABRA study was designed to increase understanding of how long ZIKV persists in bodily fluids and informing best measures to prevent its transmission. Data collection began in July 2017 and the last follow up visit occurred in 06/26/2020. Methods: A framework for the ZIKABRA Cooperation initiative is provided through a description and analysis of the mechanisms, strategies and the ethos that have guided the models of international governance and technical cooperation in health for scientific exchange in the context of a public health emergency. Among the methodological strategies, we included a review of the legal documents that supported the ZIKABRA Cooperation; weekly documents produced in the meetings and working sessions; technical reports; memorandum of understanding and the research protocol. Conclusion: We highlight the importance of working in cooperation between different institutional actors to achieve more significant results than that obtained by each group working in isolation. In addition, we point out the advantages of training activities, ongoing supervision, the construction of local installed research capacity, training academic and non-academic human resources, improvement of laboratory equipment, knowledge transfer and the availability of the ZIKABRA study protocol for development of similar studies, favoring the collective construction of knowledge to provide public health emergency responses. Strategy harmonization; human resources and health services; timing and recruiting particularities and processing institutional clearance in the different sites can be mentioned as challenges in this type of initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • International cooperation in health
  • Outbreak
  • Public health emergency
  • Zika virus


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