WHO showcases leading African innovations in COVID-19 response

Brazzaville – A community of African innovators is stepping up support to the continent’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic, collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop solutions to help contain the spread of the virus.

On 20 May 2020, WHO in the African Region hosted the first in a series of virtual sessions for innovators across the region to showcase home-grown creative solutions aimed at addressing critical gaps in the response to COVID-19.

Eight innovators from Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Guinea and Kenya presented their pioneering solutions, all of which have already been implemented in their respective countries, with significant potential to be scaled up further across the region.

The innovations ranged from interactive public transport contact tracing apps and dynamic data analytics systems to rapid diagnostic testing kits, mobile testing booths and low-cost critical care beds.

WHO has routinely called for a multifaceted and multisectoral approach to combatting and containing the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. The Organization recognizes that providing ongoing support and a regular platform to African innovators can be a key facet of this.

“Innovation propels human advancement. In times like these when we are confronted with a major public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that our hope for a better tomorrow lies in finding creative, ground-breaking or avant-garde solutions,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“That is why supporting innovation is a critical component not only in our collective efforts to combat diseases in Africa, but to provide adapted solutions to ensure better health for all.”

The inaugural virtual innovation showcase put out a public call for submissions to the extensive network of WHO African innovators. In addition to those presenting, about 350 innovators and other interested parties joined the session, with many participating in a lively Q&A.

“There is already an overwhelming demand from other innovators who wish to be a part of this event going forward. There is a wealth of innovation talent in Africa and sustaining this kind of platform should be part of our DNA as an organization,” said Dr Moredreck Chibi, the WHO regional innovation advisor, who facilitated the event.

The virtual innovation sessions also aim to build on WHO’s inaugural “Hackathon”, hosted in April, which tasked small groups of participants with developing scalable concepts aligned with one of the eight pillars of WHO’s current COVID-19 response strategy: coordination; surveillance; risk communication and community engagement; points of entry; laboratory; infection prevention and control; case management and continuity of essential health services; and operational and logistics support. The three highest ranking groups were awarded seed funding to begin implementing their innovations. WHO will look to provide further operational support to some of the best innovations highlighted in the virtual sessions.

Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to evolve in Africa is still a work in progress, and the response is constantly being adapted to the African context. Solidarity and the exchange of knowledge, ideas and resources across the region remains an integral part of this process. WHO aims to continue integrating African innovators into the regional response strategy.

WHO

Africa COVID-19 cases top 100 000

Brazzaville/Cairo – The COVID-19 pandemic today reached a milestone in Africa, with more than 100 000 confirmed cases. The virus has now spread to every country in the continent since the first case was confirmed in the region 14 weeks ago.

Despite crossing this threshold, the pandemic, which has struck with such devastating force in much of the world, appears to be taking a different pathway in Africa. Case numbers have not grown at the same exponential rate as in other regions and so far Africa has not experienced the high mortality seen in some parts of the world. Today, there are 3100 confirmed deaths on the continent.

By comparison, when cases reached 100 000 in the World Health Organization (WHO) European region, deaths stood at more than 4900. Early analysis by WHO suggests that Africa’s lower mortality rate may be the result of demography and other possible factors. Africa is the youngest continent demographically with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. Older adults have a significantly increased risk of developing a severe illness. In Europe nearly 95% of deaths occurred in those older than 60 years. 

African governments have made difficult decisions and were quick to impose confinement measures, including physical and social distancing, which will have significant socio-economic costs. These measures, which along with contact tracing and isolation, expanded or increased hand washing have helped to slow down the spread of the virus.

“For now COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “It is possible our youth dividend is paying off and leading to fewer deaths. But we must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases.”

The continent has made significant progress in testing with around 1.5 million COVID-19 tests conducted so far. However, testing rates remain low and many countries continue to require support to scale-up testing. There is a need to expand the testing capacity in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, and provide additional test kits.

Cases continue to rise in Africa and while overall it took 52 days to reach the first 10,000 cases, it took only 11 days to move from 30 000 to 50 000 cases. About half of the countries in Africa are experiencing community transmission. More than 3400 health care workers have been infected by COVID-19. It is important that health authorities prioritize the protection of healthcare workers from COVID-19 infection at medical facilities and communities. There is also a need to provide enough personal protective equipment to health care workers and raise their awareness as well as increase infection prevention and control in health facilities. 

“Testing as many people as possible and protecting health workers who come into contact with suspected and confirmed cases are crucial aspects of this response. Despite global shortages, we are working hard to prioritize the delivery of testing kits and personal protective equipment to low- and middle-income countries that have the most vulnerable populations, based on the number of cases reported,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Despite the relatively lower number of COVID-19 cases in Africa, the pandemic remains a major threat to the continent’s health systems. A new modelling study by WHO predicts that if containment measures fail, even with a lower number of cases requiring hospitalization than elsewhere, the medical capacity in much of Africa would be overwhelmed.

Now that countries are starting to ease their confinement measures, there is a possibility that cases could increase significantly, and it is critical that governments remain vigilant and ready to adjust measures in line with epidemiological data and proper risk assessment.

WHO has offices in every country on the continent and is working closely with the Africa Centres for Disease Control, Ministries of Health, United Nations agencies and other partners to support the scale-up of the response through coordination, technical expertise, the provision of much needed medical supplies and assisting with data collection and analysis. WHO has trained more than 7000 health workers, including 1000 district health teams to support the decentralization of the response. So far, more than 225 experts have been deployed to over 39 countries in Africa and over 900 staff have been repurposed at the regional and country level to support the response. 


Note to Editors:

Within the WHO system, Africa is divided between two regional offices. The WHO Regional Office for Africa comprises 47 countries which include Algeria and most of sub-Saharan Africa. While the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean includes an additional seven countries (Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia).

WHO

FIXED TERM TO PERMANENT: Does employment automatically become permanent if the work continues after a fixed term contract expires?

No – the employee would still have to show that he or she had a reasonable expectation that employment would become permanent after the fixed term contract (FTC) expires.

So said the Labour Appeal Court in a decision made in March 2020[1]. When a project manager resigned, the employer appointed him on a short fixed-term contract for 20 days until 31 December 2014. He continued to work after the FTC expired. In mid-January 2015, the employer offered to extend the FTC until to 31 January 2015. The employee agreed.

The employer advertised his position said the employee would be considered for the position. The employee received an email on 02 February to inform him that his application was unsuccessful. On the next day 03 February, the employer issued him with a notice of termination.  The notice said his FTC would end on 13 February 2015. (The employer mistakenly believed that it was obliged to give two weeks’ notice of termination even though the fixed-term agreement had come to an end.)

The employee claimed the termination of his contract was a dismissal and referred a dispute to the CCMA. The employer submitted that the contract had terminated by effluxion of time and that there was no dismissal. However, the arbitrator ruled that the employee was dismissed and that the employer had to prove the fairness of the dismissal.

The Labour Court dismissed the employer’s application for review. The court agreed with the arbitrator’s reasoning that the fixed-term contract had already expired at the time the employer issued the notice of termination. .

The Labour Appeal Court disagreed with the Labour Court and the arbitrator. It found that the CCMA had no jurisdiction to entertain the dispute because there was no dismissal. It found that the employee’s fixed term contact ended on 31 January 2015 for the following reasons –

  1. The CCMA lacks jurisdiction where there is no dismissal because a contract has terminated by effluxion of time.
  2. If an employee renders services to the employer after a fixed-term contract comes to an end, this does not mean that that the fixed-term contract automatically ‘morphs’ into permanent employment.
  3. The fact that an employer does not inform the employee prior to the expiry of a fixed-term contract that the contract will not be renewed or extended or that it will be coming to an end does not mean that it is either automatically extended or that the employment has become permanent, unless provisions of the law specifically provide for that.

TIP: Employers should keep track of FTC expiry dates. This will enable them to issue notice of termination on the end date by effluxion of time. In the case of an employee on a 3-month FTC who earns less than the BCEA threshold, the employer should be able to justify why the employee should not be entitled to continue on the principle of deemed employment.

[1] Ukweza Holdings (Pty) Ltd v Nyondo and Others (PA2/19) [2020] ZALAC 7 (4 March 2020)

Source: Worklaw Newsletter March 2020

PATRICK DEALE
labour lawyer & mediator Deale Attorneys
Email: patrick@deale.co.za
Tel: 083 375 8771
Web: www.deale.co.za
Skype:  patrick.deale

FIXED TERM TO PERMANENT

FIXED TERM TO PERMANENT: Does employment automatically become permanent if the work continues after a fixed-term contract expires?

No – the employee would still have to show that he or she had a reasonable expectation that employment would become permanent after the fixed term contract (FTC) expires.

So said the Labour Appeal Court in a decision made in March 2020[1]. When a project manager resigned, the employer appointed him on a short fixed-term contract for 20 days until 31 December 2014. He continued to work after the FTC expired. In mid-January 2015, the employer offered to extend the FTC until to 31 January 2015. The employee agreed.

The employer advertised his position and said the employee would be considered for the position. The employee received an email on 02 February to inform him that his application was unsuccessful. On the next day 03 February, the employer issued him with a notice of termination.  The notice said his FTC would end on 13 February 2015. (The employer mistakenly believed that it had to give two weeks’ notice of termination even though the FTC had ended.)

The employee claimed the termination of his contract was a dismissal and referred a dispute to the CCMA. The employer submitted that the contract had terminated by effluxion of time and that there was no dismissal. However, the arbitrator ruled that the employee was dismissed and that the employer had to prove the fairness of the dismissal.

The Labour Court dismissed the employer’s application for review. The court agreed with the arbitrator’s reasoning that the FTC had already expired at the time the employer issued the notice of termination.

The Labour Appeal Court disagreed with the Labour Court and the arbitrator.  It found that the CCMA had no jurisdiction to entertain the dispute because there was no dismissal. It found that the employee’s fixed-term contract ended on 31 January 2015 for the following reasons

1. The CCMA lacks jurisdiction where there is no dismissal because a contract has terminated by the effluxion of time.

2. If an employee renders services to the employer after a fixed-term contract comes to an end, this does not mean that that the fixed-term contract automatically ‘morphs’ into permanent employment.

3. The fact that an employer does not inform the employee prior to the expiry of a fixed-term contract that the contract will not be renewed or extended or that it will be coming to an end does not mean that it is either automatically extended or that the employment has become permanent, unless provisions of the law specifically provide for that.

TIP: Employers should keep track of FTC expiry dates. This will enable them to issue notice of termination on the end date by effluxion of time. In the case of an employee on a 3-month FTC who earns less than the BCEA threshold, the employer should be able to justify why the employee should not be entitled to continue on the principle of deemed employment.

[1] Ukweza Holdings (Pty) Ltd v Nyondo and Others (PA2/19) [2020] ZALAC 7 (4 March 2020)

Source: Worklaw Newsletter March 2020

PATRICK DEALE
labour lawyer & mediator Deale Attorneys
Email: patrick@deale.co.za
Tel: 083 375 8771
Web: www.deale.co.za
Skype:  patrick.deale

ONLINE LEGAL SERVICES:
I’m available to discuss your legal issues online by Zoom or Skype video conferencing. You’re welcome to call or email me to set up a time which suits you.

RAND Review

The cover story explores how military and local governments can work together to prepare their communities for climate change. A second feature spotlights the unmet needs of civilians who return from war zones and other hot spots throughout the world. In this issue’s Q&A column, policy researcher Yuna Wong talks about wargaming in the age of artificial intelligence. A message from president and CEO Michael Rich announces the Tomorrow Demands Today fundraising campaign and how philanthropy supports RAND’s mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

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Equipping Tanzanian health workers with skills for critical care

Dar es Salaam — Health care workers across Africa are boosting their emergency response skills to tackle COVID-19. Much is still being learned about the pandemic as measures are reinforced to contain rising infection in many countries in the continent. “We were in completely unchartered territory,” says Dr Abel Musa, a critical care specialist at a hospital in Zanzibar, after a recent online training.

In April, Dr Musa along with about 160 other health workers in Tanzania attended a three-day virtual training organized by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) focusing on caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Only a small percentage of COVID-19 patients become critically ill necessitating intensive care, which is the only measure that can save their lives.

Critically ill patients are at a heightened risk of experiencing acute respiratory disease syndrome, septic shock, multi-organ failure, kidney or cardiac injury. These patients require increased attention, with around the clock monitoring. They may also need oxygen support. The professionals caring for these patients are often the last line of defence against the disease.

“If the essential care of such critical illness is provided correctly, including maintaining a free airway, administering oxygen and giving intravenous fluids to patients in shock, many lives can be saved,” says Dr Tim Baker, a critical care consultant with WHO Tanzania.

Providing critical care also entails important measures such as how to identify severe and critically ill patients, assessing a patient’s breathing and oxygen needs, how to administer oxygen, and treating shock or low levels of consciousness.  Globally, around 3% of COVID-19 patients become critically ill. The majority present fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms. About 40% of cases seem to be mild.

Dr Musa says that the training has given a fillip to infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures at Tasakhtaa Global Hospital, where he works. He had initially established standards to handle COVID-19 patients, but with the training, the latest in an ongoing series, the protocols have been adjusted in line with nationally recommended practices.

“We have a number of COVID-19 patients in our critical care. Because of careful planning and staff commitment to IPC we have managed to keep other patients and all frontline responders safe,” says Dr Musa.

WHO is working with governments in Africa to train health workers, improve surveillance, testing, contact tracing and treatment. More than 7000 health workers, including over 400 in Tanzania, have been trained in WHO African Region since the beginning of the pandemic. WHO is also providing technical expertise in countries, either remotely or by embedding experts in national response teams.

Most countries on the continent, however, do not have the capacity to manage many critically ill COVID-19 patients. There are on average nine intensive care unit beds per one million people, according to a March 2020 survey based on self-reports by 47 countries in the WHO African Region. Improvements are being made to increase the number of ventilators in intensive care units and more critical care clinicians are being trained.

Ansbert Sweetbert Ndebea, a doctor from Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro region who also attended the virtual training, says he has yet to handle a critically ill COVID-19 patient but was now prepared to do so. His region has not reported a high number of cases.

For Dr Musa, the new protocols at his hospital mean patients are now being screened upon entry. If triage staff suspect a COVID-19 case, the person is taken to an isolation area until staff designated to care for COVID-19 patients arrive. COVID-19 care is limited to specific staff members to ensure that other essential health services continue. These newly formed COVID-19 teams work under modified schedules, serving for 14-day stretches before taking two weeks to rest. The method helps the treatment teams to stay focused and reduces the likelihood of onward infection.

With improved infection prevention measures, the safety of health workers also gets a boost. As of 19 May 2020, 1920 health workers had been infected with COVID-19 in 32 counties in the WHO African Region since the beginning of the outbreak.

Infections continue to rise across the continent. However, the pandemic can still be controlled in many countries by the aggressive implementation of both containment and mitigation measures. Recent analyses of the evolution of the outbreak in Africa show that the disease has largely affected urban populations, with most rural communities relatively unaffected or only reporting sporadic cases.

WHO

South Africa: Hydrogen fuel cells to be deployed in support of COVID-19 response

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the Department of Defence (DOD) and Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), will deploy seven hydrogen fuel cell units at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria to assist with the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the approval of the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Strategy by Cabinet in 2007, the HySA programme has made steady progress in developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies focused on platinum group metal (PGM) beneficiation and improved energy security.

Globally, hydrogen fuel cells are increasingly being recognised as a clean energy technology suitable for both mobile and stationary applications. Using hydrogen gas as an input fuel, a fuel cell produces electrical energy through an electrochemical reaction with a platinum-based catalyst in which only water is emitted as a by-product. If the hydrogen gas is produced from renewable energy (such as solar photovoltaic or wind energy) through water electrolysis, the energy production process has a near-zero carbon footprint.

Hydrogen fuel cells coupled with renewable energy thus have the potential to decarbonise both the energy and transport sectors, with a positive contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Other notable advantages of hydrogen fuel cells include their modular nature, as well as their ability to take a variety of fuel sources from which hydrogen can be extracted, allowing them to be moved rapidly from one point to another. For these reasons, fuel cells have to the potential to play an important role in disaster management and distributed energy generation in remote areas

The project to deploy hydrogen fuel cell units at 1 Military Hospital is a partnership between the government and the private sector, comprising Bambili Energy Group, Singapore-based Horizon, United States-based Element One, and Powercell Sweden. Bambili is a black and female-owned microenterprise focused on commercialising intellectual property (IP) developed through the HySA programme. Horizon and Element One are global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) specialising in fuel cell and reformer manufacturing respectively.

Through the partnership with Bambili, Horizon and Element One have agreed to incorporate HySA IP into their commercial products, including five of the seven fuel cell systems to be deployed at 1 Military Hospital. The remaining two systems involve a partnership with Powercell, a fuel cell OEM from Sweden. Bambili plans to begin local manufacturing of the stationary fuel cell systems by March 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for rapid deployment of health facilities in support of the government’s efforts to combat the spread of the disease and provide high care for those infected. Containerised hydrogen fuel cells can be deployed quickly to provide clean power to such facilities, even if they are temporary.

Accordingly, the DSI, in partnership with the DOD and DPWI, identified 1 Military Hospital for the deployment of fuel cells incorporating HySA IP to support the additional temporary facilities established as part of the government’s response to COVID-19.

The collaboration between the government, private sector and academic institutions involved in the HySA programme is an excellent example of the triple helix type of relationship that is critical for taking technology from the laboratory to the marketplace.  

The deployment of the fuel cells at 1 Military Hospital will be complemented by a hands-on training programme to ensure that the skills needed to operate and manage the fuel cell systems are institutionalised within government. The first two phases of training will focus on officials from the DoD and DPWI, while the third phase will focus on unemployed TVET college graduates with N4 electrical or electrical engineering qualifications.

The National Development Plan, as well as the Integrated Resource Plan 2019, highlight the need for South Africa to diversify its energy sources and increase the use of renewable energy and gas to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and address energy security. 

This has created a platform for emerging low-carbon energy technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells to be part of South Africa’s future energy mix. The government’s foresight and investments in the HySA programme is therefore commendable. With about 75% of global platinum reserves, it is in the country’s interest to develop and promote clean energy technologies that provide alternative applications for platinum and other PGMs like palladium and rhodium.

The large-scale use of hydrogen fuel cell technologies could mitigate the potential decline in the use of PGMs in catalytic converters for internal combustion engines due to the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. South Africa, with its extensive PGM reserves and renewable energy resources, has an opportunity to create a new industry in fuel cell manufacturing and the production of hydrogen from renewable energy for global export.

It should be noted that the production of renewable hydrogen from water requires significant quantities of PGMs. Local manufacturing of fuel cells and renewable hydrogen are therefore potential contributors to job creation and economic recovery post-COVID-19.

This article was first published on 18 May by South Africa Department of Science & Innovation.

Source

Commission hopes boost to farming and biodiversity R&D will pave the way to recovery

The European Commission is betting on investments in green farming technologies and biodiversity to set the EU economy on a growth curve out of the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and has published the first details of its ‘Farm to Fork’ and ‘Biodiversity’ strategies, two of its major policies to put the economy on a greener, more sustainable footing.

“The coronavirus crisis has shown how vulnerable we all are, and how important it is to restore the balance between human activity and nature,” said Frans Timmermans EU’s executive vice-president for the European Green Deal. “These strategies are a crucial part of the great transition we are embarking upon.”

As part of the plan, the commission is to launch a Horizon 2020 call worth €1 billion for researchers working on priorities the EU has set in its Green Deal, the overarching policy that has the objective of making Europe the first carbon neutral continent by 2050.

Then, as of next year, another €10 billion will be available under the upcoming ninth framework programme, Horizon Europe, for projects on food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and the environment.

Some of the Horizon Europe funding will be funnelled through a partnership for safe and sustainable food systems, which will help member states to work together on an EU-wide governance mechanism for research and innovation in sustainable agriculture.  

Horizon Europe will also have a research mission focused on improving soil health, and a dedicated partnership on research, aiming to reduce use of pesticides and antimicrobial drugs in agriculture by 2030.

In addition, the commission has set a target of reducing the use of fertilisers by 30 per cent and turning 25 per cent of agricultural land over to organic farming.

Alongside the Horizon funding, the commission is planning to establish a ‘Biodiversity Partnership’ to translate scientific knowledge on ecosystems into policies, together with a ‘Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity’ which will have the objective of transforming at least 30 per cent of Europe’s land and seas into protected areas.

The EU is planning to set aside money to bring broadband internet to all rural areas by 2025, opening the way to apply Europe’s satellite technology to boost precision farming and the use of artificial intelligence in sustainable food production.

Source

Looming crisis could widen investment gap in higher education, EUA report says

A recession could once more tighten public budgets and increase the gap in investment in higher education between EU member states, according to a new report by the European University Association (EUA) that calls on national and European policy makers to come up with new strategies to prevent the coronavirus crisis from further widening east-west disparities.

If policy makers fail to do so, “There could be drastic long-term effects,” said EUA’s director for governance, funding and public policy development, Thomas Estermann.

Based on its analysis of policy decisions taken in Europe in the past decade, the EUA report warns of “large, long-lasting” negative effects on higher education systems, especially in countries which cut budgets for universities and research in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to cause a global recession, “Universities must prepare for operational and financial difficulties in the coming few years,” the report says.

EUA’s analysis of how public funding to universities evolved since the 2008 financial crisis reveals short-term decisions taken by governments seem to have had longer-term effects they did not foresee.

Governments had different responses to the 2008 financial crisis, with some countries deciding to invest more in research and innovation, while others cut back spending.

Since 2008, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Austria and Denmark have increased investment in higher education, while countries like the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Ireland scaled back, despite sustained economic growth.

Cuts in public funding for universities and research agencies were meant to be temporary but some countries in Europe were not able to come back to pre-crisis funding levels fast enough, further widening the performance gap between higher education systems.

In the long term, austerity policies have made universities in some member states less competitive and less able to recruit talent and invest in infrastructure.

The EUA report calls on policy makers to prioritise research and innovation in new financial rescue packages, to avoid reproducing the effects of the 2008 crisis.

So far, it’s been “quite difficult to convince policy makers that this is an important area to invest in,” Estermann said.

The report says member states should coordinate their policies and ensure appropriate levels of investment in higher education and research and innovation from both national and EU budgets.

“The solution to the underlying challenges can’t be solved at the EU level alone,” Estermann said.

Potential cuts in national higher education systems will put more long-term pressure on EU funded research programmes, as happened after the 2008 crisis, when EU’s seventh and eighth research framework programmes were oversubscribed and reported very low success rates, particularly for countries with underfunded research and innovation systems.

According to Estermann, national funding shortages have boosted demand for EU funding, along with making application processes very costly. “It’s been very clear from the past that you can’t replace cuts in national funding through European funding,” he said.

But simpler rules for application in EU programmes would still help ease some of the hefty financial burden that falls on universities when preparing proposals for EU grants. “Making things simpler will release resources,” said Estermann.

Source

COVID-19 R&D spending breathes international spirit into research

 Int funding opportunities

The global spread of COVID-19 has seen national funding calls opening up to international collaboration, with a third of opportunities listed in the Science|Business COVID-19 research funding database explicitly allowing international cooperation.

Of European calls launched since the start of the pandemic, 55 per cent are open to overseas researchers, while for the Americas the figure is 50 per cent. Elsewhere around the world most research money is spent inside the country of origin.

The US – recently criticised for not taking part in an EU-led international COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics pledging event – and the UK, are the two biggest funders of cross-border research, together having launched 51 per cent of all known international COVID-19 funding calls.

The Science|Business coronavirus research opportunities database currently lists more than 250 calls from 44 countries.

Source