HCEC made a strong contribution to the initial COVID-19 response at the beginning of the pandemic and to enable rapid adjustments including recognising the health and economic consequences that the pandemic would bring, particularly to vulnerable populations in Wales and beyond. We are now providing support to Covid-19 recovery and help to ensure that we can learn from what has occurred for future health emergencies.
The HCEC contribution to Covid-19 response, recovery and learning:
- In the early stages of the pandemic, research proposals were submitted to COVID-19 calls across UKRI and NIHR funding platforms as part of ensuring a rapid mobilisation of our expertise to support bids with other research groups.
- We provided crucial evidence on the safety of treatments being tested for use in COVID-19, highlighting the harms in a paper: Hughes DA. Acute chloroquine poisoning: A comprehensive experimental toxicology assessment of the role of diazepam. Br J Pharmacol. 2020 May 15. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.15101
- The HCEC co-directors joined the UKRI/NIHR College of Experts to rapidly assess grants, often delivering multiple reviews within 48 hours of receipt. HCEC members also were on a register of experts for Welsh Government for COVID-19.
- HCEC worked with Dr Brendan Collins – Chief Health Economist to the Welsh Government, commenting on his modelling of mass testing in Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding area. We also were part of a group of economists supporting the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales to look at potential future scarring of the Wales economy and what could be done to mitigate this.
Our co-directors were appointed to the Test and Trace Value for Money Expert Academic Board, Joint Biosecurity Centre, Department of Health and Social Care, UK Government. They were two of four UK nominated experts providing independent health economics advice to the work programme.