In line with its mission, the COVID-19 Coalition has been working with the ACT-Accelerator’s Therapeutics Partnership to increase the representation of researchers from low-resource settings in COVID-19 priority-setting bodies at the global level. Following a call for nominations by the coalition, four representatives have joined the workstreams of the ACT-Accelerator Therapeutics Partnership.
Led by Unitaid and Wellcome, the ACT-Accelerator Therapeutics Partnership aims to tackle the urgent need for effective therapeutics to limit the impact of COVID-19 through three concurrent workstreams:
- Rapid evidence assessment of candidates, coordinating the clinical trials portfolio, scientific direction and selection of candidates for development at scale (including evaluation beyond the current portfolio of Therapeutics Accelerator candidates)
- Market preparedness, facilitating market entry and supply at scale, including regulation, production capacity, pricing, designing appropriate tools and interventions adapted to the specific product
- Adequate deployment in all countries, ensuring procurement, equitable distribution, and delivery at scale and in all settings
Dr Nada Melhem is a virologist and an immunologist at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon where her research focuses on HIV and, more recently, on COVID-19. She is an Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Division of Health Professions. She also chairs the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program in the Faculty of Sciences. She is a member of the National Committee for Communicable Diseases and has been serving as scientific advisor for the Ministry of Health. She is also an elected council member of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, she has been selected to serve on the WHO COVID-19 Epidemiology Technical Advisory Group and on the Technical Advisory Group for SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution.
In this interview, she talks about why it is important to advocate and collaborate for the advancement of COVID-19 research driven by the needs of low-resource settings and about the workstream she has joined.