Informing infectious disease response

Responding to COVID-19, other infectious diseases and the challenge of antimicrobial resistance

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how important it is for countries to prepare for potential shocks to healthcare systems and to society more widely. Other public health threats, such as those associated with antimicrobial resistance and with changing public attitudes to vaccination are also pressing challenges of our time. Our research looks at how we can respond to the infectious disease-related and wider public health challenges that we currently face, and how we could mitigate the impact of future public health threats.

Tackling antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) presents one of the key global public health challenges of our time. The emergence of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms has led to previously easy-to-treat infections becoming more difficult to treat. RAND Europe‘s growing body of work in this area has been supporting leading decision makers to tackle this challenge.

  • Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish, photo by  jarun011/Adobe Stock


    Understanding industry contributions to the fight against AMR

    In the fight against antimicrobial resistance, the AMR Industry Alliance brings together over 100 biotechnology, diagnostic, generics and research-based biopharmaceutical companies and trade associations. RAND Europe assessed the progress of AMRIA members in contributing to tackling AMR and found they are making a difference on diverse fronts.

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    Evaluating the EC Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance

    From research on new antimicrobials to surveillance and monitoring of AMR-related issues across the EU, an evaluation of the 2011 European Commission Action Plan against AMR assessed both the impacts of the plan and how effectively it was implemented.

  • Capsules and pills packed on white background


    Estimating the economic costs of antimicrobial resistance

    The costs of failing to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) include a world population by 2050 that will be between 11 million and 444 million lower than it would otherwise be in the absence of AMR, and world GDP losses between US$2.1 and US$124.5 trillion.

  • Human hand holding MRSA colonies on blood agar plate


    Using historical foresight to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

    Researchers are examining complex and enduring policy issues that have implications for public health to gain a new perspective on how to tackle AMR. The team combines literature review and interviews with scenario planning and analysis to explore how historical analysis can be used to inform future AMR policy.

Enabling sustainable and scalable innovation

Innovating in response to public health challenges like COVID-19 does not always align well with pharmaceutical industry commercial models or shareholder expectations. RAND Europe’s work has considered how industry can be incentivised to innovate in these areas in a more sustainable way, and how policy decisions can help ensure fair and equitable access to the fruits of innovation for populations across the world.

Optimising global COVID-19 vaccine distribution

We examined the economic implications associated with different types of vaccine supply approaches that can be taken globally. This research can help governments and international bodies optimise decisions related to vaccine supply and distribution strategies.

  • Syringes and COVID-19 vaccine ampoule lying on top of US dollars, photo by JYPIX/Adobe Stock


    COVID-19 and the cost of vaccine nationalism

    Without a vaccine, the worldwide economic impact of COVID-19 could be US$3.4 trillion a year. But even when a vaccine is available, an unequal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines could cost the global economy up to US$1.2 trillion a year in GDP.

Evaluating innovations for disease surveillance and control

Helping to strengthen global resilience to infectious diseases is a core part of our commitment to the public good. RAND Europe's research is supporting this effort, for example, by contributing to a better understanding of how technological advances can enable better preparedness for and responses to infectious disease outbreaks.

  • Doctor holds out hands in front of tech screen with 'like' icon, photo by wladimir1804/Adobe Stock


    Assessing the use of new technologies for infectious disease surveillance, prevention and control

    To help inform decisionmaking by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), we are using innovative horizon scanning methods to identify and collate evidence on new technologies of potential relevance to public health. We are also assessing the proven and possible future impact of recent advances in ICT and microbiology testing and microbiological diagnostics on public health, specifically for infectious disease surveillance, prevention and control.

  • Blue coronavirus cells and DNA, illustration by matejmo/Getty Images


    Evaluating the progress and impacts of the COG-UK consortium

    RAND Europe evaluated the progress and impact of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium to provide learning and insights that should be relevant for future efforts to link genomics research with public health decision-making needs.

Exploring strategies for HIV/AIDS prevention

Innovation in infectious diseases needs to look as much at prevention as it does at establishing treatments and cures. RAND Europe is committed to better understanding the role of innovation in preventing diseases, both in the context of therapeutic innovation and in the context of promoting innovative and supportive societal behaviours. One example is our research in the area of HIV/AIDS.

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    Local context is key in successfully using ARVs to prevent HIV/AIDS

    Our Mapping Pathways project, supported by Merck and the NIH and conducted in partnership with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, was the first study of its kind to synthesise evidence and views about localized antiretroviral-based prevention strategies for HIV/AIDS in diverse global contexts. The project included a thorough review of the social, economic and clinical impact of four treatment regimes. Research, community engagement and policy work took place in three countries, the United States, India and South Africa.

Improving the care of patients with C diff infection

Clostridioides difficile (C diff), the most common infectious cause of diarrhea related to antibiotic ingestion, is often spread in through poor hygiene in the healthcare environment. With support from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, RAND Europe is exploring ways to improve the care pathway and treatment options for patients with C diff.

Examining the benefits of research and development

EU-funded research into poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs) makes an important contribution to tackling these global challenges. Our work has deepened understanding of the impact of these investments.

  • Medical researcher uses pipette to drop blood on a sterile slide


    Evaluating the impact of EU R&D into poverty-related and neglected diseases

    RAND Europe and partners evaluated for the European Commission the impact of EU-funded research and development into poverty-related and neglected diseases. We found a significant impact on strengthening research capacity in low- and middle-income countries. However, the contributions of these research investments to efforts to achieve universal health coverage are less clear. Our research identified key strategies that could be pursued to support the links between research and universal health coverage in the future.

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