The AAMC submitted a letter on Dec. 7 to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in response to a request for information inviting comments and suggestions on the NIH-wide strategic plan for COVID-19 research.
The plan was released in July 2020 and proposes a framework for research to better understand SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and to speed the development of treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics. The NIH notes that the plan is meant to be a living document that is responsive to current challenges and public needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its comments, the AAMC emphasized the need to develop a broader understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of COVID-19, including the activation of the immune response, methods of transmission, and effects of long-term disease. The comments also stress the need to continue investment in programs and public-private partnerships that have been successful in promoting the development of diagnostic technologies, treatments, and novel approaches to vaccine development.
Finally, the AAMC outlined several areas of opportunity in addressing health disparities and poor outcomes in vulnerable populations, such as enhanced data collection and multisector collaboration, as well as a greater understanding of COVID-19 maternal health and pregnancy outcomes.