Cavallini James / BSIP / AFP
On December 31, 2019, the WHO Office in China was informed that cases of pneumonia of an unknown cause had been detected in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China. The Chinese authorities identified this to be a previously unknown type of coronavirus (COVID-19). Since the outbreak, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased rapidly across China and worldwide and WHO has declared the disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
GloPID-R Members and other major players involved in infectious disease outbreaks worldwide reacted rapidly to this emerging epidemic, working closely with WHO to identify the specific funding research priorities needed to tackle the disease. Coordination meetings were held immediately, and actions have been put in place in line with the GloPID-R global response strategy.
Rapid research response through fast track funding
In response to the emergence of COVID-19, Members of the GloPID-R network immediately coordinated to identify the existing, funded research projects in this area and began launching emergency calls for funding.
Response coordination at a global level
To accelerate the generation of critical scientific information and develop the medical products needed to control COVID-19, key knowledge gaps and research priorities must be identified. To this end, WHO and GloPID-R invited participants from the global scientific community, public health and regulatory bodies, member states, research funders and bioethical organizations to attend the “Global research and innovation forum: towards a research roadmap for the 2019 novel Coronavirus” held on February 11-12 , 2020, at WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
Joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak
Timely and transparent sharing of data in a public health emergency (PHE) is vital. In light of the threat presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, signatories to the 2016 Joint Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies were invited to reaffirm their commitment to ensure research findings of relevance are shared rapidly with WHO. The number of signatories increased from 67 in 2016 to 117 today.
Advancing knowledge through experience
The organization of the emergency response to COVID-19 is being facilitated by the lessons learned and the guidelines, such as the GloPID-R Roadmap for data sharing during PHEs, developed during previous epidemics. Preparedness for future outbreaks of infectious diseases will be improved as a consequence of this worldwide collaboration.
Operational support in the field
As and when it is required in the regions affected by COVID-19, GloPID-R and its Members will provide operational support to the responders in the field.