Global research and innovation forum: towards a roadmap for the 2019 novel Coronavirus

CCOUC Director Prof Emily Chan has been invited by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) to join the 2-day WHO expert meeting in Geneva, Switzerland during 11-12 February 2020 to help set the global research agenda for the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-2019), including priorities and governance frameworks for global coordination and implementation. Prof Chan co-chaired two sub-sessions on the state of the art and global research agenda setting for social sciences in outbreak response.

The purpose of the forum is to bring together a group of key experts, partners and stakeholders to finalize the development of a roadmap for the 2019 novel Coronavirus in order to enable the conduct of research, product development and innovation. Such a roadmap will include an analysis of current capacities and ongoing efforts in affected countries and globally, and a review of the steps that the community should take to accelerate critical research. This meeting will assess the status of research and product development to fight the COVID-2019 epidemic, including diagnostics, therapeutics, and prophylactics products as well as regulatory, ethical, social sciences, animal health, data / sample sharing and other considerations to align on a cross-functional strategy to advance the countermeasures necessary to treat patients and control transmission.

The meeting was intended as a forum for the exchange of information and views among scientists and researchers with regard to the content of the research roadmap. The three main overall objectives of the forum are:

  • enabling the joint identification of the main knowledge gaps and research priorities;
  • fostering an acceleration of the generation of scientific information; and
  • promoting the development and generation of priority medical countermeasures to control the COVID-2019 emergency, through an effective collaborative approach.

The participants included scientists and researchers from different disciplines, namely:

  • Members of the scientific community 
  • Researchers from WHO Member States’ public health agencies
  • Regulatory experts
  • Bioethicists with expertise in research in emergencies
  • Major funders of research related to the COVID-2019

GloPID-R is a network of 28 research funding organizations from 21 countries in 6 continents in the area of infectious disease preparedness research, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust, with WHO and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as observers.