Shining the spotlight on LMICs as part of an inclusive global response
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for global collaboration across research disciplines has been clear. In recent months, the role of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in such collaboration has come fully into the spotlight as an important focus for our membership of funders.
Many of our members took part in the online conference on Covid-19 Research in Low & Middle Income Countries, organized March 29-30 by GloPID-R and our partners UKCDR and the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition. As the Chairman of the GloPID-R Working Group on LMICs, I was honored to give the opening and the closing remarks of this truly rich event, which provided an opportunity for global research funders and researchers working in LMICs to exchange their knowledge, experience and vision for the future. Our work was focused on four themes: Clinical Research & Research Networks; Health Systems & Indirect Health Impacts; One Health; and Transmission. Participants in the panel discussions provided stimulating insights from across the globe on lessons learnt, research priorities and gaps, and next steps.
The key messages of the meeting were published on May 6 in The Lancet in a comment signed by leading author Alice Norton and co-authors from GloPID-R, UKCDR, and COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition Cross-Working Group on COVID-19 Research in LMICs*, COVID-19 research response and preparedness in low-resource settings: urgent priorities.
In South Africa, COVID-19 has dominated public health efforts over the past year. The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has been at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine research, innovation and surveillance, and has played an important role in the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccination, which began in May. In this newsletter, you can read about SAMRC’s participation in an implementation study called “Sisonke” (meaning “together”), during which large numbers of healthcare workers queued up to receive the vaccine at sites across the country.
The SAMRC has also recently launched a new strategy with research translation as its goal. Work has been undertaken by Prof. Rachel Jewkes and her team on key messaging and communicating science to achieve better understanding in the wider population. Vaccine hesitancy and misinformation on COVID-19 are issues that the SAMRC will continue to tackle.
GloPID-R and the Working Group on COVID-19 Research in LMICs are committed to facilitating an inclusive global research response to the current pandemic and beyond. We are convinced that by setting our sights on measures such as expanding regional membership in the Global South, improving collaboration and supporting research priorities identified by local researchers, we will be able to achieve this aim.
Charles Shey Wiysonge
GloPID-R Vice Chair
*Alice Norton, Charles S Wiysonge, Jean-Marie Vianney Habarugira, Nick White, Marta Tufet Bayona, Hans-Eckhardt Hagen, Julie Archer, Moses Alobo, Gail Carson, Patricia Garcia, Rui M B Maciel, Uma Ramakrishnan, Choong-Min Ryu, Helen Rees, Francine Ntoumi, Akhona Tshangela, M Abul Faiz, Valerie A Snewin, Sheila Mburu, Rachel Miles, Brenda Okware, Richard Vaux, Stefanie Sowinski, Caesar Atuire, and Charu Kaushic.
Member & Observer highlight
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
As Switzerland’s foremost research funder, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) plays a key role in promoting scientific research in all academic disciplines.