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Prof. Mushfiq Mobarak Leads Call for Innovation in Tackling COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

In a collection marking the second anniversary of the pandemic, scholars from around the world outline innovations that can help increase vaccination, masking, and other preventative behaviors. 

A. Mushfiq Mobarak

In a policy forum published in Science this week, a group of scholars assembled by Prof. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale and Ted Miguel of UC-Berkeley review research about COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and make a series of recommendations for controlling the disease there.

In the lead commentary, Mobarak and Amrita Ahuja, founder of Evidence Action, argue that research and pandemic response efforts in LMICs have provided valuable insights that have informed policy around the world. 

“Different environments lead researchers to ask different questions,” they write. “Supporting high-quality research in a range of environments addresses a wider set of critical questions and creates a broader and stronger array of tools and strategies for pandemic management. Research investments in LMICs would facilitate cost-effective provision of global public goods for ending the pandemic not only in LMICs, but everywhere.”

Mobarak also co-authored items on the economic impact of COVID-19 and innovations in last-mile vaccine delivery. Other contributors from Yale SOM include Prof. Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, the co-author of an item on using mobile technology to promote preventative behavior, and Prof. Jason Abaluck, who writes, with four colleagues, about the continued importance of masks, drawing on research co-authored with Mobarak. Yale’s Gregg Gonsalves and Saad Omer make a series of proposals to expand production of vaccines for LMICs.

Other items examine the lessons of India’s severe April 2021 wave of infection, the potential of optimizing vaccine doses to increase supply, and the role of vaccine hesitancy in LMICs. The authors, who include three Nobel laureates, are drawn from the fields of economics, public health, immunology, sociology, political science, vaccine science, and epidemiology, and include contributors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Ghana, Brazil, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

Read the policy forum.