April 2020

This global crisis demands a global response

The world has changed drastically since you all read the GloPID-R Newsletter in November, where Barbara Kerstiëns made a convincing case for preparedness, including against a respiratory pandemic. How prophetic that now seems. It was for such an event that GloPID-R was formed, and why Wellcome is so proud to be a partner.

SARS-CoV2 has spread with incredible speed, challenging every health care system, and shocking societies and economies around the world. We need a response which is not just international – but truly global. We recognise that the interconnectedness of researchers and funders around the world is crucial to stopping this outbreak. There is no doubt that our past efforts have left us better prepared than we ever were before, but we all recognise it was not enough.

It has been hugely encouraging to see GloPID-R members leading in the early stages of this response, with welcome support from the Secretariat, in aligning these efforts: particularly during and after the WHO Global Research & Innovation Forum in February. We must continue to increase this sense of urgency and scale our collective response even further. We must advocate for much more funding and for coordinated research that will change the tide of the pandemic. There is little value in being pleased to do things faster than usual, if that pace is still behind the speed of the pandemic.

I’m also hugely encouraged by the rapid responses for social sciences and mental health research, and for the development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines: including the WHO’s facilitation of a multi-country, multi-arm Global Solidarity Trial for therapeutics with all associated partners.

Now, as this pandemic impacts more countries and communities, we must also focus our attention to ensure all countries have the best possible chance to respond to COVID-19. For this moment presents us with a fundamental choice about our values and the sort of future world we want.

We may emerge from this more united, better prepared for future crises, and with renewed faith in research and the power of sciences. Or this crisis may shake countries’ commitments to global solidarity, leaving us more polarised, and less able to respond to this pandemic and a host of other urgent health challenges. I know all of us desperately want to see the former: we have a crucial role in making that happen.

Throughout history, the world has faced a series of great crises. In the aftermath there is always a choice. Do we seek to apportion blame, exact reparations and become ever more polarised? Or do we seek to come together, learn lessons, and refashion a more collective and cohesive world? We will face such a choice.

Kind regards

Jeremy Farrar
GloPID-R Acting Chair

Guest Feature

The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA)

A view from Africa by Dr Marie Jaspard, Coordinator of ALIMA hemorrhagic fevers research program

GloPID-R is delighted to include this insight into the work of the NGO, ALIMA in this edition of our Newsletter

As COVID-19 completely dominates the world’s attention, people in Nigeria continue to die from Lassa Fever, far removed from the media spotlight. And while the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) occupied the media spotlight six months ago, nearly 1,000 people who survived the disease are waiting for researchers to implement a “survivors follow up” program. In terms of international medical research, one disease can chase away another. But outbreaks occur in developing countries regardless of the attention paid, and research is essential if we are to find the necessary tools to fight these diseases.

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GloPID-R Activities

GloPID-R COVID-19 Timeline

Take a look at the latest GloPID-R COVID-19 response activities.

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GloPID-R General Assembly

We are sorry to confirm that the 2020 GloPID-R General Assembly has been postponed.

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The Swiss National Science Foundation Joins GloPID-R

GloPID-R is delighted to announce that the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has become an official member of the network. With the addition of this important institution, GloPID-R now has 29 members, strengthening its capacity to prepare and respond to infectious disease outbreaks across the Globe.

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National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia

GloPID-R member, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funds the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research for Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE) to improve Australia’s response capacities.

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COVID-19 Research Project Tracker

To support a more effective and coherent global research response, GloPID-R and the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) have developed a live database of funded research projects on COVID-19.

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GloPID-R Member Activities

COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator

GloPID-R members Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome join with Mastercard to facilitate R&D and drug development to tackle COVID-19. GloPID-R members Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome along with Mastercard have provided $125 million in seed funding to an initiative to accelerate the development of and access to therapies for COVID-19.

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CEPI advances 8 COVID-19 vaccine programmes

The COVID-19 pandemic poses one of the greatest challenges humankind has faced in the past century. While social distancing measures have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus, vaccines, alongside therapeutics and diagnostics, are the world’s permanent exit strategy.

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Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)The Canadian Government pledges $54.2M for COVID-19 Research

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus how the health of people around the world is inextricably linked. On April 10, 2020, in addition to the funds already committed by the Government of Canada, the CIHR was able to fund three further COVID-19 projects to bring the total to 99 funded grants and an investment of $54.2M in rapid research response.

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Institut Pasteur advancing COVID-19 research

Institut Pasteur in Paris and GloPID-R member, Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN) have mobilized teams across the world to respond to the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In January, their coronavirus task force was established to coordinate research into new COVID-19.

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National Research Foundation of KoreaExperience from MERS outbreak advances COVID-19 response in the Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea has been working to overcome COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed on January 20 this year. As of April 13, 2020, the total number of the confirmed cases was 10,537 with 214 deaths (2.03 % fatality rate).

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SoNAR-Global and the COVID-19 pandemic

The SoNAR-Global social sciences network for preparedness and response to epidemics (funded by the European Commission) is leading multiple activities for the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2020, SoNAR-Global launched a social sciences resources page, with relevant readings, vocal reflections from social scientists and observers throughout the world, and most recently, an “Epicast” on the social dimensions of the COVID-19 epidemic.

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Upcoming Events

The GloPID-R 2020 General Assembly is just one of the many worldwide events that have had to be postponed or cancelled due to the current COVID-19 crisis.

We hope to be able to publish a full, updated list of upcoming events in our next edition of the Newsletter.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.