‘Pandemic preparation should be broader than just biomedical advise.’ Says PDPC’s medical director Anja Schreijer. With a team of researchers from various institutes, the PDPC published a report on pandemic preparedness. The outcome is a research agenda explicitly involving social research and the interaction between the biomedical and societal domains.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that not only biomedical knowledge is necessary for pandemic control. The effects of measures on social cohesion within and between (vulnerable) groups in society, trust in government, follow-up of measures and advice, and thus in turn on the effectiveness of measures have also proven important, partly due to the long duration of the pandemic.
That’s why, in July 2022, the PDPC hosted a knowledge session with researchers from different institutes, like the GGD, UMC Utrecht, KNAW, RVS, Amsterdam UMC and Radboud UMC, to set a pandemic research agenda. The now-published document contains recommendations for (scientific) research that can help us better prepare for the next pandemic.
They conclude, among other things, that knowledge gaps remain between the societal and biomedical research domains. For instance, the link between measures, human behaviour and the spread of viruses is not well-researched. Schreijer: ‘Answering cross-domain questions requires not only good research but also understanding each other’s fields. We need an open mind and critical reflection from both disciplines.’
The report has been presented to OMT and MIT. It is consistent with the finding of OVV (Dutch Safety Board) Corona Response report 2 which states that knowledge gaps remain and that an evaluation of them has yet to occur.