COVID CIRCLE report: Funding and undertaking research during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic – Case studies
The 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak highlighted the inadequacies of global health research systems to respond to acute crises and galvanized global health actors around initiatives to boost preparedness and capacity for effective future epidemic response. Key among these is the WHO Research & Development Blueprint mechanism which focuses on priority pathogens of epidemic potential and outlines a framework for prompt response to disease outbreaks.
This mechanism was rapidly triggered at the onset of the current COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 resulting in a WHO Coordinated Global Research Roadmap to which several funders aligned their research responses. Further, funders drew on their experiences from funding research during the West Africa Ebola outbreaks (2014-2016), Zika epidemic (2015-2016), North Kivu Ebola epidemic (2018) and other acute health emergencies to refine their approach to funding COVID-19 related research.