Helping the world prepare for the next global health crisis with the Pandemic Institute
By Daniel Elliott
President and CEO, Innova Medical Group
I had never thought I’d live through a pandemic, let alone lead the team that has delivered billions of COVID tests to the world.
Our company, Innova Medical Group, was founded at the beginning of 2020 with a mission to help tackle some of the world’s most challenging healthcare problems. Little did we know that by April 2020, COVID-19 would become a global pandemic that cost millions of lives and shut down many ecomonies. We looked for ways to support our customers and help them manage COVID and by October 2020, we were producing tens of millions of test kits per day and delivering them across the world.
As a leading provider of screening and diagnostics solutions to our customers globally, we have learned so much from our journey over the last 18 months. It is now clear that pandemics are one of the biggest threats to the health of the world’s population and we found that the global community is ill prepared for this or any pandemic. Our collective response was fragmented by country, region, states, and often, all the way down to counties and cities. Now, well more than a year in, we are all still looking for a clear plan to move forward while experts are predicting that the next pandemic could be only 5 years out.
These insights were fundamental to why we at Innova decided to gift £10M ($14M) in start-up capital to help launch the Pandemic Institute. In concert with the numerous Liverpool academic institutions and the City of Liverpool, the Pandemic Institute is an ambitious global initiative that has the potential to save lives and improve health outcomes for communities across the globe.
The Pandemic Institute‘s mission is to rapidly deliver real-world solutions and ensure that we’re all better prepared for the next global public health threat. Its primary focus is on improving the human condition. By offering world-leading clinical, research, and real world analysis, it is poised to offer policy recoommendations to set standards and best practices for how to best address future widespread outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The Institute hopes to bring private actors, nongovernmental organizations, and government bodies together to deliver unique and holistic solutions from the beginning to the end of a given pandemic lifecycle. There will certainly be needs specific to a given region or community, but, by applying a set of general standards and best practices, its work can and will benefit the world community as a whole.
Specifically, the Pandemic Institute will enable and inform pandemic prediction, prevention, preparation, response, and recovery through its three core aims to:
- Accelerate global response: Save time and save lives with timely insights that accelerate the global response to pandemic events
- Unify global intelligence: Provide a unique global view by bringing together and unifying global intelligence in relation to pandemics
- Increase global societal impact: Remove barriers to innovation and improve recovery response to increasing the impact of pandemic research on our global society
Team Liverpool are the pioneers
We have been impressed time and time again by the Liverpool academic, government, and business community for the in-depth research and insights on the pandemic response that they’ve collectively completed over the past 12 months. From reducing cases by around a fifth and reopening the City when neighboring areas were closed in early December 2020, enabling first reopening of live music events in Northern Hemisphere , to developing linked data system to coordinate testing now helping Covid recovery in Liverpool and other areas, Liverpool demonstrated to the world its pioneering attitude and deep expertise and knowledge in pandemic research. In that regard, they are uniquely prepared to help shape public health policies. More importantly, they are using that research, expertise, and experience to enable meaningful actions.
One of the things that stood out for us was the fact that the city, the academic institutions, and the people of Liverpool worked so well together. The pilot programs could not have been successful if any one of these parties weren’t fully engaged and committed. The synergy and collaborative spirit demonstrated by team Liverpool is irreplicable and has been a key factor in translating research to public policy- which is critical in managing a pandemic response.
As we learned of the plan to establish the Pandemic Institute, we were eager to participate, but did not want it to be solely an Innova effort. Rather, we hope many would join us in this endeavor led by the Pandemic Institute in helping improve the human condition. We see the Institute as a facilitator and incubator of ideas and open exchange. This substaintial donation demonstrates our commitment to the success of the Institute and its mission, but does not hinder it in its efforts to expand into a commercially-neutral enterprise.
The Instutute has also recruited some amazingly talented people to join its leadership team. We have full confidence in their ability to lead the efforts to build a global pandemic institute. Their respective reputations add a substantial amount of credibility to the Institute and only encourage and foster continued collaboration between the private sector, government and non-government bodies, and academia to do meaningful and lasting work.
This is an exciting initiative for Innova Medical Group to be supporting the global community and we look forward to working collaboratively with existing and future partners in pursuit of a common goal. We look forward to doing our part, working together, and helping lead the way to collectively prepare the world for the next pandemic.
There is work to be done. And we are honored to be part of it.