Pandemic Response Initiative

Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) must develop their own playbooks to prevent widespread devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic, tailored to the realities of their populations and economies. Community-based delivery of health interventions, the linchpin of success against malaria and other diseases, will be at the heart of a successful response.

A new global initiative, led by the Global Health Group at the University of California San Francisco, IDinsight, and Evidence Action, has rapidly mobilized to help countries develop those playbooks. The Pandemic Response Initiative (PRI) is focused on three core pillars using fundamental public health approaches.

Establish surveillance and tracking systems

Without data we cannot act in a targeted way. Using existing real-time, phone-based data collection methods pioneered by IDinsight and global tech firms, UCSF and Evidence Action are piloting a syndromic surveillance system at the community level to establish efficient tracing of new cases and develop risk models that support COVID-19 communities. With this data, we provide decision-makers with both aggregate and granular data on the evolution of the pandemic.

In the near future, we will design and test additional methods for rapidly identifying new clusters of COVID-19 transmission in communities, including using machine learning applications to extrapolate from limited available data.

Prioritize Diagnostic Resources

By modeling and assessing the impact and cost-effectiveness of different diagnostic system designs, we advise LMIC governments to optimally guide testing strategies.

Going forward, we’ll continue to closely track all new diagnostic tools in development and analyze their utility in LMICs. This includes analyzing the role of serological antibody tests and developing models for their use as part of community-based surveillance.

Develop interventions for treatment and prevention

A comprehensive scientific review is underway with the University of Texas Southwestern to analyze relevant drug candidates, the design and adequacy of current trials, and their potential for community-based treatment and prevention in LMICs. To date, most scientific reviews of drug candidates have focused on high income settings.

We will focus on behavioral interventions, including testing high impact messaging on social distancing and mask wearing in LMIC communities.

For more information contact: [email protected]

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