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International Health

July 13, 2020

Global Health Experts Call for COVID-19 Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries


In a Global Health Research and Policy Commentary, an international team of public health experts call for targeted COVID-19 research in low- and middle-income countries to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic. As of July 1, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in LMICs have surpassed those in high-income countries.1 Yet, the authors warn, the impact of the virus on individuals and communities and prevention and response measures in these countries are still not sufficiently understood. Additional research could help inform targeted mitigation strategies and prevent LMICs from bearing the greatest burden of COVID-19, as the region does so often with infectious diseases.

The Commentary, published on July 1, was led by Madhu Gupta, MD, PhD, MBBS, a professor in the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, and Brian Wahl, PhD, ‘17 MPH ‘13, an assistant scientist in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The authors propose three broad areas of research in low- and middle-income countries:

The authors call for a multidisciplinary approach to address these research topics. They stress that local investigators should take the lead and that limited human resources, funding, and medical supplies should not be diverted from pandemic response activities. The authors also encourage international cooperation and investments to support ongoing and new research efforts.

In addition to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research and the Bloomberg School, authors are based at

The need for COVID-19 research in low- and middle-income countries was written by Madhu Gupta, Brian Wahl, Binita Adhikari, Naor Bar-Zeev, Sudip Bhandari, Alexandra Coria, Daniel J. Erchick, Nidhi Gupta, Shreya Hariyani, E. Wangeci Kagucia, Japhet Killewo, Rupali Jayant Limaye, Eric D. McCollum, Raghukul Pandey, William S. Pomat, Krishna D. Rao, Mathuram Santosham, Molly Sauer, Rhoda K. Wanyenze, and David H. Peters.