Connecting researchers from different disciplines, countries, and backgrounds, can promote collaboration, help to identify new research opportunities, bridge knowledge gaps, share resources, and facilitate the development of novel approaches to tackling complex challenges.

Wellcome is supporting the development of a highly active network of six research teams funded to work on SARS-CoV-2 variants. These take a variety of scientific approaches to better understand the biological implications of novel SARS-COV-2 variants and similar pathogens or pathogen-agnostic research through facilitating capability building, rapid uptake of research findings into national policy and strengthening capability in low and middle income countries for a research response to future infectious disease outbreaks.

Networking will increase the individual and collective impact of these projects, and making this platform open to all is expected to benefit others working in similar research outputs, and also beyond COVID-19. Whether methods, infrastructure, processes for data collection, management and sharing, or laboratory procedures and standards, sharing knowledge can bring efficiencies, learning opportunities, and deliver better visibility and impact for all. Moreover, findings may be more likely to be taken up into policy and practice in the global effort to end pandemics and prepare for future threats. 

This resource is thus intended to benefit both the Wellcome teams and others more broadly through a community of practice approach, increasing efforts to address global imbalance in who contributes to and benefits from research. In turn this should help minimise immediate and ongoing threats from pathogen variants anywhere in the world and leave skills, systems and abilities in place to respond to other and future infectious disease threats.