At a hybrid meeting held on 5-6 Oct. 2022, the Steering Committee and Secretariat of the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition met with the chairs and coordinators of several Coalition working groups to discuss the future of the organization, which was founded in April 2020.
The meeting included sessions to review the Coalition’s mission and scope, impact and deliverables, and organization and governance.
The Coalition was created as a network of scientists, clinicians, and other health researchers to support a research response to the COVID-19 pandemic in resource-limited regions – primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America – driven by the researchers and priorities in those regions, and to advocate for equitable access by all people to scientific advances in new treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines for COVID-19. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has hosted the Coalition since its launch.
In the two and a half years since the Coalition was established, research priorities are changing, and there is a growing focus on preparedness for future outbreaks. In addition, the failure of global solidarity to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and therapies for COVID-19 has emphasized the need for greater preparedness and capacity in low- and middle-income countries.
In the discussions held over two days, in-person and online attendees agreed that the Coalition must extend its scope beyond COVID-19 to respond to future epidemics and pandemics while not losing its focus on national and regional leadership in research and preparedness. It was also agreed that new and strengthened partnerships, community engagement, and greater cross-collaboration across Coalition working groups and members would be critically important moving forward, with greater Steering Committee engagement.
Following the retreat, the Coalition’s Secretariat will coordinate several initiatives, including a paper summarizing achievements and lessons learned, and an evidence-based manual on epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response in low-resource settings, with contributions from all working groups.
In early 2023, the Coalition will hold an All-Members Assembly to discuss the Coalition’s evolution and present the manual.