GloPID-R Scientific Advisory Group releases report with COVID-19 research priorities and recommendations

September 7, 2021

The key priorities identified in COVID-19 Research Recommendations & Considerations for GloPID-R, 2021-2023 will inform the global network’s coordinated approach to research funding on COVID-19 over the next 12 to 18 months. To accompany the report, the GloPID-R co-chairs have issued a set of recommendations for actions and planning in the near future.

The report released by the GloPID-R Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) emphasizes a clear need for greater coordination and efficiency to address the current pandemic as well as future infectious diseases emergencies. The entire report is being made public as the GloPID-R leadership believes that all research funders can benefit from the findings. Along with the Co-Chairs Recommendations, it represents a valuable tool to inform decisions as the world continues to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Scientific Advisory Group identified specific areas of COVID-19 research that are especially important to fund in the near future, in alignment with the WHO Blueprint Revised Research Agenda, in part by using an innovative scenario-planning method under the guidance of experts from the Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.

Improving coordination among funders

“GloPID-R is very grateful to the SAG members for sharing their expertise and committing time to bring this important report together,” said Dr Charu Kaushic, GloPID-R Chair. “The Co-Chairs Recommendations were the result of careful deliberations of the SAG report that will help guide the actions of GloPID-R members. Hopefully, they will also serve to engage the global community in discussing coordinated actions among the major research funders in the pandemic preparedness and response space.”

As a member of the SAG and an active participant in the deliberations, Dr Moses Alobo, Progamme Manager at the African Academy of Sciences, underlined the significance of the report’s findings. “GloPID-R provides a clear strategy to interact with and improve coordination across the meta-organization of funders, such as access to COVID-19 tools, accelerator therapeutics, diagnostics, and global surveillance. The proposed ‘moon shot projects’ can potentially change the course of this and future pandemics if implemented with regimental precision.”

GloPID-R Co-Chairs recommendations

Following a succinct overview of the report, the Co-Chairs Recommendations focus on three main areas:

  • Expansion of the strategic focus to preparedness and response in Low- and Middle- Income Countries (LMICs);
  • Development of a model for coordinated funding and adoption of “scenario- independent” research priorities;
  • Efforts to align priorities with the anticipated 2021 WHO COVID-19 R&D Roadmap.

The recommendations, which include adopting certain research priorities identified by the SAG beyond the scope of the 2020 WHO & GloPID-R COVID-19 research roadmap, are intended to strengthen the ongoing work of GloPID-R’s existing working groups on data sharing, social sciences, clinical trials coordination and capacity building in Low- and Middle- Income Countries (LMICs). Dr Moses Alobo stressed that funding to improve preparedness and response in LMICs must be a priority for funders going forward. “LMICs need a concerted global security effort to ensure the success of humankind against this epidemic. The report proposes ways in which LMICs funding remains top of mind and counter the uncovered issues,” he said.

The report findings also highlight the need to improve funding for social sciences research in pandemics. “This GloPID-R report emphasizes how social sciences research is desperately needed to better understand the root social drivers of pandemics like COVID-19 and to address their devastatingly inequitable consequences,” said Dr Steven Hoffman, Chair of the GloPID-R Social Sciences Research Working Group and a SAG member.

Read the full GLoPID-R media release and download the report