Strengthening & Accelerating the Global Research Response to COVID-19 by Sharing Methods and Knowledge Between Countries, Networks and Organisations

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford


COVID-19 is a new virus and therefore there are many unknowns that need to be
answered through research. Setting up studies takes a long time and there are many
places in the world with low research capability and experience. Therefore, we need to
find a way to get all the organisations, networks and teams working on this outbreak to
share not only what they are discovering, but also how they do their research. This could
help all countries to run their own studies by sharing the methods and systems that have
been developed, and by providing guidance and support on how to run these studies in
their clinics and hospitals. We need all types of research in outbreaks, not just to test
drugs and vaccines but also to understand the social context so that locally appropriate
public health messages and measures can be implemented. Better diagnostics are also
critical to avoid over-burdening hospitals. We learnt much during the Zika and Ebola
outbreaks and many initiatives and networks were set up. Here we build on these
collaborations and our experience within our wide, global community to help countries at
the most risk to also take part and benefit from research.

Technical Summary

This COVID-19 Rapid Response award is funded (100%) by the National Institute for Health Research but was part of a joint call between the MRC and the National Institute for Health Research.

A Public Health Emergency was declared for COVID-19 to galvanize global collaboration
to support less resources nations; this must include research to address the unknowns
and ensure equity in who benefits from findings and interventions. We propose to further
develop a proven mechanism for supporting locally-led evidence generation by facilitating
knowledge sharing between all the networks and getting information and support to where
research capacity is low. During the Ebola and Zika outbreak The Global Health Network
served an important role in delivering and sharing trusted research tools, guidance and
training which facilitated faster, standardised quality data capture. Beyond these
outbreaks we have been working with our partners to create lasting research networks to
support evidence generation in challenging settings. Here we will take our experience and
add new innovative technology to make highly targeted information, tools and resources
discoverable and support rapid implementation of new knowledge as this outbreak
evolves. Our global partners are asking for such a mechanism, and here we can use the
platform, our community, technolology and expertise to address the immediate need for
global sharing and research support at this crucial point. What we learn here can then be
applied to future outbreaks.


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