Table 1

Examples of capacities mobilised by members of African Research Coalition for Health (ARCH) for COVID-19 response

Research capacity mobilisedActivitiesConsortia involved
Molecular biology expertise and laboratory infrastructureSupporting COVID-19 testing; validation of testing kits; sequencing SARS-CoV-2 to understand transmission pathway and to detect changes in the virus over timeIDeAL, MUII-plus, THRiVE, MARCAD, Afrique One-ASPIRE, DELGEME, CARTA+, WACCBIP
Epidemiology, statistical and mathematical modellingCOVID-19 data analysis and predictive modelling; statistical advisory roles for data analysis for national response teams and intervention trialsSSACAB, IDeAL, CARTA+
Surveillance platforms such as Health Demographic Surveillance SystemsRespiratory disease surveillance to estimate missed COVID-19 cases; sero-surveillance to provide national prevalence estimates and estimation of COVID-19-related deaths outside the hospital settingIDeAL, MARCAD, THRiVE, SSACAB, CARTA+
Immunology, clinical research, genetic susceptibility studiesStudies to understand genetic susceptibility, immunity and clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in the Africa populationSANTHE, IDeAL, MUII-plus, THRiVE
Clinical trialsTrials for COVID-19 drugs for example, hydroxychloroquine, repurposed influenza drugs, vaccines and locally developed medical equipment such as ventilators; data analysis for clinical trialsIDeAL, THRiVE, MUIIPlus, MARCAD, SSACAB, CARTA+
Health systems and health economicsAssessing COVID-19 economic impact and health systems disruptions, including health workers experiences, health systems response and access to reproductive health systems.Afrique One-ASPIRE, IDeAL, CARTA+
Social sciences and ethics researchCOVID-19 Knowledge Attitude and Practice Studies; studies on impact of lockdown on social well-being; studying and advising on expedited ethics approval process for COVID-19 studiesAfrique One-ASPIRE, CARTA, IDeAL, MARCAD, THRIVE, SSACAB
Mental health research capacityAssessing the impact of lockdown on mental health and developing interventions including online support platformsAMARI’ IDeAL
One Health platformsCOVID-19 knowledge transformation for communication design by intersectoral stakeholders and community leadersAfrique One-ASPIRE,
Policy analysis and links national response teams, and with other agenciesTechnical advisors on national response teams; training health workers in COVID-19 testing and use of PPEs; training response team on data analysisAll consortia
Paedagogy expertise and information technology infrastructureARCH fellows trained in paedagogy supporting online teaching in universities to ensure learning continuityCARTA+
Community and public engagement expertise and Information technology infrastructureHosting of and participation in COVID-19 webinars, television and radio shows and other media platform by ARCH fellows and scientistsAll consortia
Fund raising for research and link with fundersDevelopment of grant application to expand response activities beyond local funding; working with AAS to define local COVID-19 research prioritiesAll consortia
Research managementExpedited research protocols ethic review; expedited grants application processingAll consortia
  • AAS, African Academy of Sciences; SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.