Research funders unite to prepare for epidemics

The Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) members are convening at a conference to prepare a rapid research response for infectious disease outbreaks. The meeting is hosted by the South African Medical Research Council in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town May 4-5.

GloPID-R is the only initiative of its kind to bring together research funders on a global scale. The initiative’s aim is to prepare a collaborative research response within 48-hours of the discovery of an infectious disease epidemic with pandemic potential. The network is currently made up of 13 funding organisations from 12 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. The interim chair is the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation, with Vice Chairs coming from Brazil, Canada, France and South Africa. The secretariat of the initiative is currently funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and is run by the Fondation Mérieux (for the AVIESAN research network) and the University of Oxford (for the ISARIC research network).

The conference’s main objective is to take stock of the challenges and bottlenecks encountered by researchers and research funders in the context of the Ebola epidemic and to propose ways to address these problems in future outbreaks. The Ebola crisis has shown the importance to involve scientists at the outset of an epidemic to develop essential diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. It has also demonstrated that it is important to think, plan and invest in research and innovation before a health crisis occurs.
Presentations will cover lessons learned from implementing clinical trials, how to strengthen surveillance and early warning systems to prevent infectious diseases turning into pandemics, community engagement, and the challenges of implementing rapid funding.

Moving from discussion to action, the members will propose innovative solutions for future epidemics of pandemic potential to ensure the necessary resources are readily available.

The presenters include:

  • Jeffrey Mphahlele, Vice President of Research from the South African Medical Research Council
  • Line Matthiessen, Interim-Chair GloPID-R, Head of Unit ‘Fighting Infectious Diseases and Global Epidemics’, Health Directorate, Research and Innovation DG, European Commission
  • Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director, National Institute for Biomedical Research, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Cathy Roth, WHO, Geneva
  • Annick Antierens, Deputy Medical Director, Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva
  • Peter Horby, Associate Professor, Group Leader Epidemic Research Group Oxford (ERGO), Group Head/PI and Fellow, University of Oxford
  • Hubert Endtz, Scientific Director, Fondation Mérieux
  • Ripley Ballou, Vice President, Emerging Diseases, New Product Development, Glaxo SmithKline

Media Contact

Fondation Mérieux
Koren Wolman-Tardy
Phone: +33 6 13 94 51 14

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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.