Publication in The Lancet: A call to action for global R&D funders during epidemics

Funding organizations must address important gaps to establish a truly efficient and effective end-to-end R&D preparedness and response ecosystem.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the biomedical community has witnessed the rapid development of vaccines, innovative clinical trial designs and other positive R&D outcomes. However, many gaps remain. Chief among them is a global financing system to ensure that funding is rapidly available for research.

In Urgent lessons from COVID 19: Why the world needs a standing, coordinated system and sustainable financing for global research and development (The Lancet March 9, 2021), authors Nicole Lurie,* Gerald Keusch and Victor Dzau lay out the priorities to bridge this gap in R&D preparedness and response.

With the emerging COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, GloPID-R, a coalition of global health research  funders, quickly met with WHO to identify research investment priorities. During the ensuing months, however, the funding process was slowed by procedural requirements. Lessons to be learnt for future pandemics include the need to determine key areas of research as quickly as possible, and make sure that mechanisms are already in place to rapidly release funding and jumpstart the R&D response. It is also essential to address potential barriers to access in low-income countries.

The authors urge global players to seize the current momentum and build a system of global financing that can respond quickly to help fund R&D preparedness and provide for equitable access.

*Nicole Lurie serves as Strategic Advisor to CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), a GloPID-R observer.

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