Julia Dias (AFN)
Fiocruz president, Nísia Trindade Lima, participated in a World Health Organization (WHO) discussion on how investing in research on Covid-19 treatments can increase cooperation at national and international levels, on March 3. The discussion table, named Towards a Shared Research Agenda, included in the debate on how to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities for COVID-19 treatments, to incentivize cooperation and coordination for the priorities identified.
In her speech, the president mentioned six items for discussion, based on the experience of Fiocruz and of the Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases (INI/Fiocruz) in the national coordination of the WHO clinical trial. The clinical trial Solidarity brings together centers from different countries to test possible drugs to treat Covid-19 in thousands of patients throughout the world.
Lima defends including the parameter “viability of global access” as a way to prioritize research that can generate sustainable and accessible products when it comes to price and production. She also said that low- and medium-income countries should be taken into account and have fair and balanced participation in all phases of the research, as well as in the designing of protocols and the creation of global governance structures.
For the Fiocruz president, scientific collaboration and political cooperation are necessary to allow for and facilitate a rigorous and rapid process of evaluation of possible Covid-19 treatments. She believes countries of low- and medium-income should participate, from the early stages, of the pivotal trials that are searching for new treatments, therefore allowing for different population groups to be included. “Investigators and clinical research sites of excellence are widely available in developing countries and the enrollment of a large number of participants in low- and middle-income countries will increase the generality of the trial results to these countries”, Lima argued.
As the current situation demands rapid responses that make it more difficult to build capacity in complex clinical trial projects in some countries, Lima says centralized technical support should be made available in the design of the study and in the data analysis, so that researchers in low- and medium-income countries can collaborate with the studies.
In addition to Fiocruz president, the panel also boasted the participation of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Balram Bhargava, and of representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Diseases Preparedness (GloPID-R), and EU-Response & Recover (EC projects). The event was mediated by the WHO ambassador in the fight against Covid-19, Mirta Roses.