The current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for urgent and on-demand solutions to provide diagnostics, treatment and preventative measures for infectious disease outbreaks. Once solutions are developed, meeting capacities depends on the ability to mitigate technical, logistical and production issues. While it is difficult to predict the next outbreak, augmenting investments in preparedness, such as infectious disease surveillance, is far more effective than mustering last-minute response funds. Bringing research outputs into practice sooner rather than later is part of an agile approach to pivot and deliver solutions. Cooperative multi- country research programs, especially those funded by global biosecurity programs, develop capacity that can be applied to infectious disease surveillance and research that enhances detection, identification, and response to emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential. Moreover, these programs enhance trust building among partners, which is essential because setting expectation and commitment are required for successful research and training. Measuring research outputs, evaluating outcomes and justifying continual investments are essential but not straightforward. Lessons learned include those related to reducing biological threats and maturing capabilities for national laboratory diagnostics strategy and related health systems. Challenges, such as growing networks, promoting scientific transparency, data and material sharing, sustaining funds and developing research strategies remain to be fully resolved. Here, experiences from several programs highlight successful partnerships that provide ways forward to address the next outbreak.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information: The authors gratefully recognize the German Federal Foreign Office, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence International Biosecurity programme, and the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency for their advice and support. We also thank Mr. Garrett Dalton for his graphic artwork.
FP was employed by the company EpiPointe, LLC.
The remaining authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Open Access: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Yeh, Parekh, Tabynov, Tabynov, Hewson, Fair, Essbauer and Hay.
Citation: Yeh, Kenneth, et al. "Operationalizing cooperative research for infectious disease surveillance: lessons learned and ways forward." Frontiers in Public Health (2021): 1324.
- Central Asia
- capacity building
- cooperative research
- global health security
- infectious disease surveillance