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What are your latest findings and strategies to address the COVID-19 crisis, including for vaccine deployment?

Knowledge sharing and public engagement are critical for finding solutions to the cascading crises caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This is especially crucial for the next phase of recovery around and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination strategies.

Knowledge sharing and public engagement are critical for finding solutions to the cascading crises caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This article is part of an ISC blog series, which aims to highlight some of the latest COVID-19 related publications, initiatives and findings from ISC Members.

Earlier in the year, the ISC launched the COVID-19 Global Science Portal, which continues to serve as a repository for knowledge sharing around the pandemic. This is a call to ISC members to continue to share information through the online form for this repository, particularly as we enter a new phase of the pandemic, including critical issues around vaccine deployment, the “infodemic”, and science-for-policy and policy-for-science debates on the social, economic and health impacts of the crisis.

Here are some of the latest reports and submissions coming from ISC members:

A new report from ISC members the Royal Society (UK) and the British Academy on COVID-19 vaccine deployment 

The report, ‘COVID-19 vaccine deployment, is described as a rapid review of the science of the behavioural aspects of vaccine uptake and misinformation. In the face of uncertainty and complexity around vaccine deployment, lead author Melinda Mills calls for a ‘frank conversation’ with the public to manage expectations about how the vaccines will be rolled out, and to counter knowledge voids and misinformation. 

While the report’s authors note that COVID-19 vaccine deployment faces an ‘infodemic’ – too much information, both factual and misinformation, they argue that a narrow focus on misinformation – including ‘fake news’ – can shift attention away from the genuine knowledge gaps and anxieties that people have about vaccination. Instead, they call for community engagement and dialogue that is participatory, iterative and sensitive to local politics. 

The report was published on 10 November 2020 by the British Academy and the Royal Society for the SET-C (Science in Emergencies Tasking: COVID-19) group. 

A new report, “Rapid Expert Consultation on Critical Issues in Diagnostic Testing for the COVID-19 Pandemic” has been released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (USA)

A new rapid expert consultation from a standing committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines four topics related to the use and interpretation of COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The topics are: advantages and limitations of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing; the status of point-of-care tests; strategies and considerations for certain types and sequences of tests; and next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing. This rapid expert consultation does not examine antibody tests.

White Paper: Harnessing Innovation and Emerging Technologies to Address the Impact of COVID-19 in Africa, African Academy of Sciences

The African Academy of Sciences is highlighting this white paper, produced in partnership with the African Union and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

The paper calls for African countries to adopt a multi-sectoral approach by harnessing innovation and emerging technologies both locally and globally. It explores solutions to assessing and addressing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on African societies, economies and especially vulnerable groups. It seeks to empower AU member states through provision of recommendations and evidence-based policy choices in harnessing innovation and emerging technologies to address the impact of COVID-19 in Africa.

Webinar Series: “The World After Coronavirus”, Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC)

The Brazilian Academy of Science is holding regular webinars that are live-streamed to YouTube. The next webinar, taking place on 24 November 2020, is on the topic of challenges for the future of the Brazilian economy. You can catch up on the series here (in Portuguese).

Visit the ISC’s COVID-19 Global Science Portal to make your submission.

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

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