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  • The Gambia

  • Kenya

  • Malawi

  • Mozambique 

  • Uganda 

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periCOVID is recruiting in 

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  • To describe the sero-epidemiology of COVID-19 among pregnant women across five countries in Africa

  • To assess the risk of COVID-19 to newborn infants born to women with COVID-19 and determine potential routes of MTC transmission 

  • To determine the clinical course and pregnancy outcomes of women with COVID-19 during pregnancy

  • To determine the presence and duration of viral excretion in various mother and baby samples (serum, throat and nasal swabs, vaginal swab, urine stool, placental swab and biopsies and breastmilk)

  • To assess the immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in pregnant women and their babies

  • To work with communities to develop understanding of infection prevention and control techniques to reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst the pregnant population

2 work packages 

  • WP2 – COVID-19 surveillance and seroepidemiology of pregnant women

  • WP3 – Communications, networking and dissemination

  • Recruiting women during pregnancy in five countries across Africa:

    • The Gambia

    • Kenya

    • Malawi

    • Mozambique

    • Uganda

  • Harnessing existing partnerships and research collaborations to achieve these outcomes

  • Fully aligned with WHO MCH Generic Pregnancy and Neonatal COVID study protocol 

  • Total pregnancies all countries: 70,000

periCOVID Africa WP2  

Designed to align with existing study collection timepoints (PREPARE and PRECISE)

•All samples to be taken as swabs (except blood samples)

All women will have:

•Throat swab

•Blood sample

•Cord blood

•Infant nasal swab


•Any woman who tests positive for COVID-19 during the study will have additional samples taken

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WP3 Community engagement 

Key Objectives 

WP3 – Community engagement

  • Developing a strategy for patient and public involvement, communications, capacity strengthening and stakeholder engagement

  • Working with our partners to develop a comprehensive programme of patient engagement around COVID-19 that can build around existing cohort studies

  • Designing patient facing documents and providing training for researchers to align with community values

  • Understanding issues that are important for pregnant and breastfeeding women during COVID-19

Key actions

  • Inviting local families, nursing and midwifery staff to a meeting about the study

  • Focus group discussions to understand the effects of the pandemic on antenatal and postnatal care seeking and knowledge and views about the pandemic

Further collaboration 

Aligning protocol and CRF with WHO COVID-19 in pregnancy study

Similar study structure, excellent opportunity to create a large data set

Data sharing opportunities

  • With Respiratory Mucosal Pathogens Research Unit at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, led by Prof. Shabir Madhi COVID-19 in pregnancy study (molecular epidemiology)

  • Symptomatic pregnant women screened (NPA swab/sputum)

  • Serial NPA swabs every 3 days on COVID-19 +ve cases until negative

  • Virus to be genetically sequenced

  • Detailed medical history to be taken (demographics, comorbidities)

  • Household screening of all positive cases – tracking disease spread in Soweto, South Africa


Kirsty Mehring-Le Doare
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, 
Reader in Paediatric Infection and Immunology
St George’s, University of London
Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology
CSAC Training advisor (PIID)
Follow me on Twitter: @kirstyledoare

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Chief Investigator 

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