August 3, 2020
Today, AVAC along with the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) officially launched the COVID Advocates Advisory Board (CAAB), an urgently needed step to leverage civil society expertise and power to ensure ethical, inclusive and accelerated research on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and testing. The CAAB website was also launched today.
The CAAB is working to create an open platform to amplify voices of individuals and groups most impacted by COVID-19 which is—like HIV—exacerbated by pre-existing racial, economic and structural inequalities. As immediate next steps, the CAAB will:
- Continue to lobby for formal engagement with all four pillars of WHO’s ACT-Accelerator (ACT-A) and the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, ACTIV and CoVPN programs, in order to ensure civil society input into research and access planning, development, implementation, and dissemination of results;
- Expand research literacy to support civil society input into COVID-19 research at community, national, regional and global levels;
- Adapt and disseminate an approach to applying Good Participatory Practice Guidelines to COVID research;
- Facilitate meaningful dialogue among research teams and communities so stakeholders’ perspectives are included in the design, planning, and implementation of clinical trials and there is open communication about research goals, processes, and results;
- Advocate for equitable access to products developed through COVID-19 R&D to all people in need.
As co-conveners of the CAAB, we undertake these actions with the full understanding that research must earn the trust of the communities where products will be tested and eventually deployed. Without this, trials are slower, uptake of proven products is lower, and solutions that show efficacy in trials do not have impact in the real world. We also know that planning for equitable access starts well before data are available, and that people who need products most must, without fail, fight for that access.