IANPHI’s Latin America Regional Network Comes Together during COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 2, leaders from 10 national public health institutes (NPHI) and public health authorities in Latin America and the Caribbean held their first online meeting to discuss their responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and share their experiences.

Led by Felix Rosenberg of Brazil’s Fiocruz, current chair of the IANPHI Latin America Regional Network, the meeting gave participants an opportunity to outline their countries’ epidemiological situation and the contribution of their institutes to COVID-19 responses in Argentina (ANLIS), Bolivia (INLASA), the CARICOM Caribbean Community (CARPHA), Colombia (INS), Costa Rica (INCIENSA), Mexico (INSP), Peru (INS), Guyana (Chief Medical Officer) and Uruguay (Ministry of Health).

According to the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, case counts are rising in Mexico, Panama, and in Costa Rica. In South America, the virus continues to spread aggressively in Brazil, Peru, and Chile. In Venezuela, cases are now increasing faster than at any point during the country's outbreak. Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia are currently among the 12 countries globally with the highest daily incidence.

Participants plan to meet bi-weekly to consider specific COVID-19-related issues, and to set up a regional group chat to exchange information and answer potential consultation requests. Possible themes were identified for further discussion, such as serological tests; clinical trials; external laboratory quality control; use of sera pool to evaluate herd immunity; the role of NPHIs in primary care in the pandemic; and alternatives for producing extraction kits in the region. The creation of a network for quality control of diagnostic kits used in the region could also be discussed.

Held on June 16, the second meeting focused on immunity and serological tests and was virtually hosted by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, whose director, Dr. Juan Rivera, is a member of the IANPHI Executive Board.

“We now had a preliminary introductory discussion with a great involvement and participation of NIPHs and a second one, yesterday, with a great discussion on the use of serological testing in COVID-19," said Felix Rosenberg, chair of the regional network. "We certainly believe that IANPHI is able to occupy a most needed place in organizing, coordinating and strengthening solidarity networks of institutes in Latin America as an enormous scientific, strategic and operational asset to all of us.”

For information about upcoming meetings, please contact us at info@ianphi.org

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