Table 1

Summary of the ways trust, governance and accountability apply to both the West African Ebola epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic

Importance to R&DTrust enables the formation of strong governance measures, collaborative partnerships and ‘buy-in’ from local communities.Changes to extant R&D governance during a health emergency enable the quicker processing of ethics review and aids in accelerating the development of R&D initiatives.Collaboration is required in order to conduct research that equitably engages with the affected communities.
Positive effect on R&D during or following the West African Ebola epidemicMore timely and open data sharing was suggested as a way to build trust between researchers and communities.Policies were implemented to streamline ethics review for interventions relevant to R&D that was beneficial to curbing the Ebola epidemic.Collaborative efforts between Sierra Leone and the USA facilitated the dissemination of data on deceased loved ones to surviving family members.
Applicability to COVID-19 R&DResearchers should engage with local leadership in order to build trust with affected communities, especially as COVID-19 is brought under control in HICs while the pandemic continues to rage in LMICs.As HICs rein in their domestic COVID-19 case numbers, it is vital that international governments recognise that while the pandemic may be under control in HICs, the securitisation of their interests is insufficient to curb the pandemic.In order to amend and improve on the lack of collaboration between HICs and LMICs early in the pandemic, researchers must initiate collaborations that actively engage individuals who have local expertise regarding their own communities’ needs.
  • HIC, high-income country; LMICs, low-income and middle-income countries; R&D, research and development.