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Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) Secretariat

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - GlOPID-R-Sec (Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) Secretariat)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2019-12-31

Recent infection diseases outbreaks, including the latest Ebola outbreak in Kivu (DRC), have confirmed the persistent need for global preparedness in terms of surveillance, capacity building, research coordination or development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics before and during an outbreak. The capacity to implement research in the midst of a crisis is critical to investigate the causes, dynamics and possible therapeutic responses to a given outbreak. The GloPID-R initiative (Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness initiative) brings together scientific and funding organizations on a global scale and aims to establish global preparedness for a coordinated and effective research response of any severe infectious disease outbreak.
The idea initiated in 2013, took form in October of 2014 when a dozen major organizations agreed to join forces and sign the GloPID-R charter. End of 2014, the European Commission decided to fund a Secretariat to support this initiative and ensure its sustainability. Two partners – Fondation Mérieux (FMX) and the University of Oxford (UOXF) – decided to join forces to install and implement this Secretariat. Both partners have been building and coordinating international networks that share the objectives of GloPID-R.
Since the creation of GloPID-R, 28 members from all around the world have joined the initiative as well as two key organizations for research in outbreak: WHO and CEPI.
The role of the Secretariat is to provide support to the GloPID-R network and to assist its members in building a sustainable GloPID-R platform, focusing on:
• Development of research preparedness activities in order to reinforce funding for rapid response capacities of the research community
• Facilitation and coordination of rapid and aligned funding of research in case of an emerging outbreak
In support of GloPID-R objectives and under the authority of its Chairs and its General Assembly, the Secretariat pursued a series of concrete objectives, covering the tasks outlined in the GloPID-R Charter and the Horizon 2020 Work programme, comprising strategic, operational, dissemination and organisational support activities to be realised in this Coordination and Support Action.
Since 2015, GloPID-R has brought together a large network of funders (28 members, plus the World Health Organization - WHO - and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations - CEPI - as observers) with a common interest in research preparedness and rapid response to outbreaks. After 5 years the Secretariat is well settled, some procedures have been developed such as the Response Plan and the assessment of research gaps. Communication elements are in place, and there have been responsive discussions between Members on preparedness topics and ongoing outbreaks (e.g. Zika in Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean; Yellow Fever in Angola and DRC; Plague in Madagascar; Lassa in Nigeria; Ebola in DRC). These developments have allowed better communication among GloPID-R Members, improved coordination of outbreak research funding, and progress in some thematic areas (e.g. clinical trials network, data sharing, Chikungunya research, and social sciences).
In 2019, a revised strategy has been developed after consultation with GloPID-R Members to reinforce involvement based on their capacity, to enhance research impact and ultimately benefit to the populations facing outbreaks. This revised strategy aims at strengthening the collaboration of funders, and developing research preparedness and response in interaction with other stakeholders involved, including the WHO Blue Print and the Global Coordination Mechanism. To implement this new strategy, a work has started to review Members profile and roles, add key missing stakeholders, and adapt the Charter and the Response Plan to the evolution of the 5 past years. This work will be pursued in the new period of funding of the project covering 2020 to 2022.
More specifically, the Secretariat:
- Provided organisational, administrative and secretarial support to the GloPID-R governance bodies: Board of Chairs, General Assembly, Industry Stakeholder Group, Scientific Advisory Board
- Supported the Clinical Trial Networks working group, aimed at better of sharing knowledge and improving practices; and improved interaction with other networks through (e.g. meeting organized with PREPARE - September 2018, Brussels - to advance clinical research preparedness to infectious disease outbreaks)
- Supported development and writing of data-sharing case studies and a road map for funders, setting principles and implementation rules discussed and presented in several meetings involving GloPID-R Members and partners.
- Supported the creation and development of a social science forum of funders to better address specific research issues in outbreak
- Supported the Members and Observers in participating in the response to Ebola outbreak in DRC by enhancing communication and coordination
- Chikungunya working group to identity research challenges and propose recommendations
- Supported Members effort to design a new “joint funding mechanism” aiming at coordinate funding of specific research thematic
GloPID-R members coordinated actions since the declaration of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, on spring 2018. They focused their efforts to secure a rapid and coordinated response of research funders, aligned with the WHO’s action plan. This allowed the mobilization of rapid funding in response to the epidemic. Additional funding from other GloPID-R members was also quickly mobilized based on the evolution of the situation in the country. By rapidly sharing information, GloPID-R members concentrated on providing additional funding to the research projects of the utmost priority. Some GloPID-R members also signed a joint declaration led by the Wellcome Trust on data sharing relevant to the Ebola outbreak.
Frequent communication with WHO and CEPI were made on research needs and priorities as part of the public health response. Beside the most immediate one, vaccine trials, social science research were also supported. GloPID-R Members also kept having a holistic mid-term view to address diagnosis, genome sequencing and the survivor protocol studies.
Preparedness activities coordinated by GloPID-R allowed identification of research gaps on Chikungunya that will be helpful for a future research response on this specific disease and beyond. It also reinforced a social science approach through a scoping review and the identification of relevant funding opportunities.
GloPID-R also reinforced its role of coordination with other stakeholders. With WHO Blue Print, a common project is under discussion to support research roadmap of some priority diseases through a joint funding mechanism involving voluntary Members.
Beside coordination with WHO and CEPI, GloPID-R reinforced coordination with industry and other initiatives, such as PREPARE and JPI-AMR, to improve the efficiency of the action for a research response in an emerging outbreak.
The work done over the past 5 years on preparedness and response topics have allowed better communication among GloPID-R Members resulting in improved coordination of outbreak research funding, and progress in some thematic areas that will be pursued in the future thanks to a new grant with the European Commission for the GloPID-R Secretariat.
GloPID-R Website