2021 REPORT (SHORT VERSION)

Year Two

Year Two

The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic was marked by the emergence of new viral variants and inequitable access to vaccines and treatments

2021: 10 vaccines approved by the WHO and almost 10 billion doses administered worldwide, less than 1% in low-income countries.

2021: 10 vaccines approved by the WHO and almost 10 billion doses administered worldwide, less than 1% in low-income countries.

Throughout 2021, we continued working together towards one common goal: helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic, everywhere. We did so by generating new knowledge on the virus and our immune response, by translating emerging information into actionable items for decision-makers and the general public, and by advocating for the need to provide equitable access to diagnostics, vaccines and treatments.

From knowledge…

Fifteen per cent of the papers and reviews published by ISGlobal in 2021 were on COVID-19. Our research groups provided valuable insights into different aspects of the disease—from the type, magnitude and duration of the antibody response in cohorts of infected and/or vaccinated healthcare workers over time (1,2) to identifying immunogenic regions of the virus (3) and improving diagnostic methods to detect past infections in children and vaccinated individuals (4,5). We provided evidence that COVID-19 will behave as a seasonal infection (6) and that air pollution increases the risk of developing disease (7). We launched new studies on long COVID mechanisms and continued the follow-up of a cohort to assess the long-term effects of COVID-19, including on mental health. Our research extended to other countries, for example to Brazil, where we showed that the pandemic overwhelmed the health systems (8), and the United States, where vaccine hesitancy was found to be associated with lower income and conservative ideology (9). We continued collaborating on the ANTICOV trial in Africa to identify affordable drugs for treating mild cases.

…to actions

As members of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, we outlined three global priorities to end the pandemic (10) and called for greater vaccine equity (11). And as members of the Multidisciplinary Group for the Scientific Monitoring of COVID-19, we generated a series of reports reviewing current knowledge and recommendations related to immunisation strategies, immunity to SARS-CoV-2, post-acute COVID syndrome, and vaccination in children and adolescents, among other topics.

In addition, the Policy and Global Development team produced 12 policy briefs and several policy papers, co-signed by different researchers from the institution, with updated evidence and recommendations on relevant debates, including the impact of boosters on vaccine equity, the pros and cons of vaccine passports, the pandemic’s impact on mental health, biomedical R&D and the public good, and how to better prepare and respond to future pandemics.

Last but not least, our Education and Training teams continued to adapt their format and content to better prepare our global health alumni for the challenges of this and future pandemics.

  1. Dobaño C. BMC Med.
  2. Ortega N. Nat Commun.
  3. Dobaño C. Res.
  4. Dobaño C. BMC Med.
  5. Dobaño C. Transl Res.
  6. Fontal A. Nature Comput Sci.
  7. Kogevinas M. Env Health Persp.
  8. Ranzani OT. Lancet Resp Med.
  9. El-Mohandes A. Sci Rep.
  10. Lancet COVID-19 Commission.
  11. Lancet Commission on COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics Task Force.

All highlights

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