COVID-19 Research – Recommendations & Considerations for GloPID-R, 2021-2023

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COVID-19 Research – Recommendations & Considerations for GloPID-R, 2021-2023
GloPID-R Scientific Advisory Group – June 18, 2021:: 62 pages
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed the challenge of a century and has catapulted the critical importance of emerging diseases research onto the front page. Building from earlier research investments, and with over $3.8 billion in new research funding invested in response to the events of the pandemic, the importance of preparedness research needs no further justification1.

There have been some key successes in the pandemic-related research: the rapid coordination of research needs through the WHO R&D Blueprint mechanism and the ensuing funding calls offered through the research funders coalition Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and others have greatly enhanced our knowledge of the new pathogen and its impact. Essential knowledge gaps were filled through a range of basic, translational, and clinical research studies, and the findings of these studies have found their way into the evidence-based guidance that WHO and other public health and clinical partners developed.

New mechanisms of pathogenesis were identified that helped inform the choice of potential therapeutic approaches, which were then trialled in clinical trial networks, allowing the rapid evaluation of their utility. Against all expectations, within a year of the release of the first genomic information by Chinese scientists, the first clinical trials of vaccines were completed, showing the first promise of a way out.

Nonetheless, the pandemic is far from over, and is stretching the capacity of the world to deal with this health crisis. Challenges such as the emergence of new variants, vaccine acceptance, and the glaring global inequity in access have arisen as major concerns.

As the world faces the uncertainty of the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership of the GloPID-R asked their Scientific Advisory Group2 (SAG) to recommend an approach to research funding for COVID-19 over the coming 12–18 months. For this purpose, the SAG members reviewed existing research agendas and documents, and applied their expertise to undertake a scenario-planning approach to produce possible future scenarios for the COVID-19 and related research landscape. These scenarios were used to navigate and help frame the uncertainty around COVID-19 and infectious diseases, and to provide research recommendations.