I believe that to achieve impact, the way we deliver interventions is as important as the interventions themselves. It is extremely important to push operational research, that helps us find new and effective ways to deliver our research. A remarkable experience of this kind is the Zvandiri operational research in Zimbabwe, which has demonstrated that, if you provide HIV services with the support of peers, you can improve adherence to treatment and impact health outcomes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered us an opportunity to re-think the way in which we implement research. Digital platforms are one way we can provide children and adolescents with the support and information they need and can be a starting point to change and improve the way in which we will deliver treatment and care services.
We also need to innovate! Innovation is key to improving diagnosis and care for our children and adolescents, but it requires a collaborative effort and the necessary resources to make it possible.
New collaborations are being developed to do just this. In Europe, conect4children is a new clinical trial network aiming to facilitate the development of new drugs and therapies for the paediatric population. This network, with central involvement from Penta, remains in the development and testing phase, but the possibilities for accelerating the clinical development process poses an exciting prospect.
The Global Accelerator for Pediatric Formulations is another example of how an innovative collaboration across sectors can aspire to deliver better paediatric products quicker and cheaper in low and middle-income countries. Led by WHO, this network includes Penta and others such as Clinton Health Access Initiative, Medicine Patent Pool, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Together, this collaboration aims to accelerate the availability of optimized formulations for infectious diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, by prioritizing products, streamlining the generation of clinical evidence, incentivizing manufacturers, accelerating product development and introduction, and coordinating procurement.
We cannot forget to mention EPIICAL, one of the largest collaborative research efforts in paediatric HIV, paving the way for testing novel therapeutic strategies to help find a cure for HIV, which are now being tested in the HVRRICANE study.
We can work towards an AIDS-free generation, but we must do this together.
July 9, 2020