Dog mediated rabies is the main cause of human rabies and is globally responsible for approximately 60 000 human deaths per year. Most cases occur in Africa and Asia, with children being most affected. Timely administration of three subsequent rabies vaccinations and a single antibody administration would entirely prevent human deaths. However, post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is often unavailable due to deficient rabies vaccine supply chains, with acute vaccine shortage at health centers. Further reasons are a high non-compliance of patients and an inadequate communication between public health and veterinary services, which leads to wastage of expensive and scarce vaccines.
The main objective of the BlockRabies project is to strengthen weak rabies health care systems in Africa, resulting in higher vaccination coverage of exposed patients and thus the prevention of human rabies deaths. This research project is funded through the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and runs from 2020-2025 . Core element of the project is the BlockRabies App, which combines the public health sector, the veterinary sector, the Health information system (HIS) and the vaccine supply chain. Every patient bitten by a rabies suspected animal receives an electronic health record (EHR). In parallel, the veterinary authorities record the biting animal and immediately communicate the rabies status of the involved animal to the physician treating the bite victim, thus minimizing wastage of limited vaccine supplies. The BlockRabies application also sends vaccination reminders to patients by cell phone. In the vaccine supply chain, the Blockchain (BC) secured system allows supply chain stakeholders, vaccine distributors and health workers to monitor vaccine status and ensure vaccine is available when and where needed. Especially in contexts with lack of trust in the institutions and unreliable information systems, BC technology offers many advantages. Data is stored in a decentralized, highly transparent manner and cannot be easily modified.
BlockRabies App, which is currently tested in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire has the potential to be implemented globally and be extended to other zoonotic diseases.
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
Université des Sciences, des Techniques et des Technologies de Bamako (USTTB)
Laboratoire Central Vétérinaire (LCV)
Institut National d’Hygiène Publique
Direction des Services Vétérinaires - MIRAH
Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS)
codebar Solutions AG
This project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union.
Sanofi Pasteur and Bavarian Nordic are acknowledged for human post-exposure vaccine donations.