Strengthening partnerships and advancing priorities
Social science shapes our daily lives without us necessarily being aware of it. Without it, we would not have important research about the impact of smoking while pregnant, the deleterious effects that unemployment and poverty can have on society, or the link to human behaviors that address the causes of disease emergence, transmission, and spread. This important research, like all research, needs to be funded and supported to continue to provide necessary data. Through GloPID-R, there is now a Social Science Research Funders Forum on Infectious Diseases to do just that.
The Funders’ Forum was created in 2016 in response to the Ebola and Zika epidemics and currently includes the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the European Commission, the Department for International Development, the South Africa Medical Research Council, and Wellcome. The main priorities for this forum are to raise awareness about the need to invest in social science research and coordinate international investments in this area.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains a great concern and concerted efforts continue to understand it. For example, SoNAR-Global and GOARN-Research Social Sciences have collaborated to develop a map of social sciences research conducted for the Ebola Response in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries. The interactive maps show social sciences research conducted by IFRC, UNICEF, WHO, MSF and the SSHAP, among many others, and offer a vision of where and what kinds of research efforts are taking place. More information about this the Funders’ Forum and this exciting research project can be found in this newsletter.
GloPID-R continues to remain a helpful partner in advancing our knowledge of Ebola by partnering in studies. For example, a randomized controlled trial evaluating EVD treatments efficacy and safety started at the end of November 2018. This is a four-arm study aiming at becoming multi-country, multi-year, and multi epidemic. The experimental drugs include an antiviral medicine and three monoclonal antibodies. The trial will compare the efficacy of the four experimental treatments against each other. As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With this axiom in mind, GloPID-R is also interested in studying second vaccine candidates in preparation for all the scenarios related to the deadly EVD.
With all the work needed to prepare a rapid response, GloPID-R is preparing to host its 2019 General Assembly in Japan from May 13-14, 2019. The world’s funders of research related to infectious diseases will share the latest research results from their funded infectious diseases projects, work together of future funding priorities, and set the goals and agenda for the upcoming year. The Funders’ Forum for Social Science Research and Data Sharing Working Group will also be hosting a side event during the General Assembly.
We look forward to sharing with our GloPID-R stakeholders the results of this meeting as together we prepare to release funds to the urgent research needs related to infectious diseases.