Objectives: This paper presents the results of the consultations conducted with various stakeholders in Africa and other experts to document community perspectives on the types of research to be prioritised in outbreak conditions. The Delphi method was used to distill consensus.
Results: Our consultations highlighted as key, the notion that in an infectious disease outbreak situation, the need to establish an evidence base on how to reduce morbidity and mortality in real time takes precedence over the production of generalizable knowledge. Research studies that foster understanding of how disease transmission could be prevented in the future remain important, implementation research that explores how to mitigate the impact of outbreaks in the present should be prioritized. Clinical trials aiming to establish the safety profile of therapeutic interventions should be limited during the acute phase of an epidemic with high fatality-and should preferably use adaptive designs. We concluded that community members have valuable perspectives to share about research priorities during infectious disease emergencies. Well designed consultative processes could help identify these opinions.
Keywords: Consultation; Epidemic; Infectious disease; Research design; Research priorities; West Africa.