WHO R&D Blueprint COVID-19

At present, there are no vaccines, no curative treatments and a strong need for more rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Therefore, research is needed to accelerate timely, adequate, affordable and equitable access to these products. Switzerland supports WHO efforts to elaborate a research roadmap based on knowledge gaps for COVID-19 pandemic treatments, vaccines and related epidemiological studies, with a focus on low- and middle income countries.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Infectious desease
Health systems strengthening
01.09.2020 - 31.08.2023
CHF  2’000’000

With the announcement by WHO on 30.01.2020 that the novel coronavirus constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, a Research and Development (R&D) program for COVID-19 was activated (“WHO R&D Blueprint”).

On 11-12.02.2020, WHO convened a Global Research Summit where 500+ scientists identified critical research priorities. A coordinated Global Research and Innovation Roadmap was then developed. This proposal is aligned with the priorities of this Roadmap, with a focus on treatments, vaccines and related epidemiological studies.

The research roadmap with its clear priority setting in research on diagnostics, therapies and vaccines against COVID-19 is essential for Switzerland which formally participates to the trials. This support is also complementary to Switzerland’s contribution to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Objectives Accelerate research for timely, adequate, affordable and equitable access to any innovation and medical countermeasures to those at risk of COVID-19, with a focus on LMICs.
Target groups

Researchers and clinicians in LMICs.

The global research and development community for COVID-19.

Key funders and implementing partners including GAVI, CEPI, Wellcome Trust.

Manufacturers, regulators and procurement agencies (UNICEF, Global Fund, etc.).

Patients and population at high risk for COVID-19.

Medium-term outcomes

·  Therapeutics Solidarity Trial[1] have identified treatments that lead to a reduction in all-cause mortality and a reduction in the duration of hospital stay.

·  Vaccine Solidarity Trials have identified candidate vaccines for licensure and equitable access to those at highest risk.

-  Solidarity epidemiological studies have generated evidence on risk factors for transmission; impact of infection prevention and control measures in health care settings; incidence of infection, viral persistence on surfaces, etc.

[1] The Solidarity Trial is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, launched by WHO and partners. It is hoped that one or more of the treatments under trial will result in improving clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients and save lives.


Expected results:  

· LMICs have participated in Solidarity trial
for therapeutics and contributed to the
identification of treatments for COVID-19.

·  Collaborators in LMICs have participated
in Solidarity trials for vaccines and
contributed to the identification of candidate
vaccines against COVID-19.

-  Collaborators in LMICs have joined Solidarity
Epidemiological studies and have contributed
to generating evidence whilst benefiting from
technical and research capacity building.

Results from previous phases:   Not applicable. This is a new proposal.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • World Health Organization

Other partners
Governments, NGOs, private sector
Coordination with other projects and actors GAVI, COVAX AMC and COVAX Facility, CEPI, FIND
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’000’000