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How Africa’s Growing Scientific Community Responded to the Pandemic

The African Research Coalition for Health (ARCH) is an umbrella network of 11 African-led consortia largely funded by the DELTAS-Scheme of the African Academy of Science. It covers 54 African research institutions and universities across 17 Sub-Saharan countries. The coalition aims to build high-quality research capacity across the continent. Many ARCH partner institutions were among the first COVID-19 testing and diagnostics training nodes in their respective countries. Beyond testing, the institutions have also deployed their surveillance systems. And they’ve used their expertise in epidemiology, modelling and pathogen sequencing to help. A significant proportion of this expertise was developed under the ARCH framework. Many ARCH-trained researchers are currently launching immunology and pathogenesis studies to inform COVID-19 drug and vaccine development. By the end of 2021, ARCH will have supported training for more than 1000 high-quality PhD and postdoctoral researchers. The numbers will be similar for Master’s training and graduate research internships, across most spheres of health research.