June 2021

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.

Kind regards,

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.

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GloPID-R news

GloPID-R receives recognition for spearheading coordination of funding

In the April 2021 publication COVID-19 Research and Innovation Achievements, GloPID-R is recognized by the WHO R&D Blueprint Team for its leading role in the coordination of global funding

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COVID-19 Research Project Tracker is hailed for its instrumental role

The WHO publication COVID-19 Research and Innovation Achievements also highlights The COVID-19 Research Project Tracker, which it describes as playing an instrumental role in global funding decisions.

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Introducing the GloPID-R Member Focus

May 2021 witnessed the launch of a new monthly feature, the Member Focus. This feature provides a more in-depth look at the activities of individual GloPID-R members…

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Publications in leading journals

The work of GloPID-R, its members and partners in the response to COVID-19 has recently been featured in leading journals.

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Member & observer activities

CEPI’s $3.5bn plan to tackle the outbreaks of today and tomorrow

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an observer member of GloPID-R, has played a key role in efforts to develop and deploy COVID-19 vaccines.

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Updates from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

CIHR, with support from the Government of Canada, continues to rapidly respond to emerging research priorities to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent efforts have focused on areas of research which have become increasingly critical as the pandemic has evolved.

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South African Medical Research Council: leading research and innovation in a time of COVID-19

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has been responsive to change, leading research and dialogue on the pandemic.

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FAPESP issues two calls for proposals

FAPESP, the São Paulo Research Foundation, has released calls for proposals to support projects by researchers affiliated with institutions in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.

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Upcoming ISARIC webinar: Use of convalescent plasma in patients hospitalised with COVID-19

This webinar, organized by GloPID-R partner, ISARIC, provides evidence from randomised controlled trials of the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma in patients hospitalised for COVID-19.

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European Research & Innovation Days hosted by the European Commission

European Research and Innovation Days is a completely virtual event taking place on June 23 and 24, 2021. This is the European Commission’s annual flagship R&I event, bringing together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond.

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MRC/UKRI calls for projects on COVID-19 vaccine responses and on disease severity in India and the UK

MRC/UKRI has launched a call to investigate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine responses and immune failure and funding for four projects to understand COVID-19 severity in India and the UK.

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EU Flag

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.