The Need for a COVID Advocates Advisory Board (CAAB)
Biomedical strategies to diagnose, prevent, and treat COVID-19 are urgently needed, and efforts to rapidly develop these tools are underway worldwide. Accelerated research enhances the need for civil society input to ensure ethical development and access to these tools worldwide to ensure social justice. In this context, community engagement necessitates innovative structures, mechanisms, and actions.
Fortunately, the global research enterprise is not starting from scratch—there are platforms, normative frameworks, and research-literate community networks to facilitate effective, creative community engagement for COVID-19 R&D. Building on these existing structures, global health advocates have come together to form a COVID Advocates Advisory Board (CAAB) to ensure the engagement of civil society in COVID-19 R&D, welcoming seasoned and new advocates.
The mission of the CAAB is to strategically engage civil society and community representatives to ensure the ethical, inclusive, efficient, and accelerated advancement of research and development for urgently needed interventions to combat COVID-19, and advocate for global access to proven interventions, especially among historically vulnerable and disenfranchised populations, countries, and communities. CAAB's efforts are directed towards the achievement of social justice, health equity and the defense of human rights.
We are working to simultaneously inform the CAAB about COVID-19 research, while also facilitating linkages with ongoing and planned research and access programs. This will ensure community input into ongoing research while allowing the focus of the CAAB to evolve based on civil society feedback and research priorities.