By: 12 April 2024
Developing an international consensus on future pandemic preparedness

A pioneering international collaboration, led jointly by a Teesside University academic, has identified new research priorities needed to prepare for a future global pandemic.

The seminal work has involved 80 academics, from universities across the world, who have identified leading research priorities needed for strengthening future pandemic preparedness and response across countries.

Uniquely, the paper also compares research priorities identified by the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) method with those generated by the artificial intelligence (AI) large language model, ChatGPT.

The resulting paper, “Setting research priorities for global pandemic preparedness: An international consensus and comparison with ChatGPT’s output”, was recently published in the Journal of Global Health and marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to bolster global pandemic preparedness and response strategies.

The priorities identified in the paper include strengthening health systems, enhancing the efficiency of surveillance systems, rapid production of vaccines and treatments, and improving international cooperation.

The study also emphasises the importance of learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, managing supply chains effectively, identifying planning gaps, and promoting equitable interventions across communities.

The comparison between the priorities identified by academics and those by ChatGPT revealed significant similarities and differences, highlighting the complementary value of human expertise and artificial intelligence in setting research agendas.

Dr Davies Adeloye, pictured, Associate Professor of Public Health at Teesside University, UK, and joint lead author of the study, said the research underlines the critical need for a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to pandemic preparedness, combining human insights with AI capabilities. It showcases the potential for innovative methods like the CHNRI and AI-driven tools like ChatGPT to enhance strategic planning and response mechanisms.

He added: “Addressing the medical challenges of the future and driving positive change in healthcare across regions is a key pillar of our research strategy at Teesside University.

“Therefore, I was delighted to co-author this paper which will help set the research agenda for how we tackle any future pandemics.

“This study represents an extensive international effort to streamline and prioritise research directions that can significantly enhance global preparedness for future pandemics. By integrating human and AI-driven insights, we aim to lay a foundation for robust, equitable, and efficient pandemic response strategies.”

The publication promises to steer global policy and research towards more effective pandemic preparedness, emphasising the need for equitable access to health resources and international cooperation. The findings serve as a call to action for policymakers, researchers, and global health institutions to adopt a unified approach to addressing the identified priorities.

The research was supported by the International Society of Global Health, a not-for-profit health organisation based in the UK.

The authors extend their gratitude to all collaborators and contributors for their invaluable insights and dedication to advancing global health security.

Future research plans include exploring the identified priorities at national and subnational levels, aiming to prompt policy reforms and develop targeted interventions that address the unique challenges of pandemic preparedness and response.


Source: Teesside University