WHO Global COVID-19 Research and Innovation Forum


Dear colleagues, On behalf of Dr Mike Ryan and Dr Soumya Swaminathan, we are reaching out to give you a heads up that WHO will host a global COVID.19 Research and Innovation Forum on 13-14 May 2021 between 13:00 - 18:00 (on both days) Central European Time (CET). The background information to this Forum is provided below. The goals of the Global Forum are two-fold:

Goal 1: To continue to accelerate research that can contribute to containing the spread of COVID-19 and facilitate that those affected receive optimal care; while integrating innovation fully within each research area.

Goal 2: To support research priorities in a way that leads to the development of global research platforms, aiding preparedness for the next unforeseen epidemic and encouraging accelerated research, development and equitable access to effective interventions including but not limited to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

Please consider this message as a “Save the Date”. The agenda will be provided in due course. In the meantime, please mark your calendars and register on the link below.

Registration Link

Note furthermore, that this is an open Webinar and you should feel free to share the information within your networks. For any questions, please direct these to and We look forward to your participation.

Background A central and historic responsibility for WHO has been the management of the global regime for the control of the international spread of disease. Since 1951, Constitution of WHO confers upon the WHA the authority to adopt regulations “designed to prevent the international spread of disease” which, after adoption by the WHA, enter into force for all WHO Member States.

In May 2015, the Sixty-Eighth World Health Assembly at the request of its 194 Member States, asked WHO to convene a broad global coalition to develop the WHO R&D Blueprint as both a convening mechanism and an instrument to articulate end to end technical guidance for R&D preparedness and support research during epidemics. World scientists on COVID-19 then met at the World Health Organization’s Geneva headquarters on 11–12 February 2020 to assess the current level of knowledge about the new virus, agree on critical research questions that need to be answered urgently, and to find ways to work together to accelerate and fund priority research to curtail this outbreak and prepare for those in the future.

The Global Forum led to an agreement on two main goals. The first was to accelerate innovative research to help contain the spread of the epidemic and facilitate care for those affected. The second was to support research priorities that contribute to global research platforms in hopes of learning from the current pandemic response to better prepare for the next unforeseen epidemic.

Thereafter, WHO maintained a network of global researchers that have since debated research priorities, developed methods and critically appraise emerging evidence via over hundreds of virtual scientific consultations that include thousands of scientists around the world..

Through these efforts emergency preparedness and response are benefiting from increased research actions and improved R&D collaboration. Ideally, these coordination efforts should catalyze global changes, promote greater coordination and increase the range of medical technologies available to treat infectious diseases. The net impact should be faster and more effective responses to public health emergencies across the globe. The global health community, national governments, the researchers and populations of low- and middle-income countries, product development partnerships, pharmaceutical & biotechnical companies, funders alliance must continue to work together. Coordinated efforts will increase investment in research for appropriate medical technologies, ensuring fair and equitable access to, and affordability for the populations in need. WHO will continue to use its convening power to make this vision a reality, but success will rely on the concerted efforts of all stakeholders. Kind regards Neddy MAFUNGA on behalf of the WHO R&D Blueprint Secretariat