The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent emergence of Long COVID have raised awareness about how a virus may impact brain health—for weeks, months, and potentially years. Beyond this pandemic, VINEx will address the broader issue of how viruses and other infectious agents may directly or indirectly affect the central nervous system (CNS), including as potential contributors to the development and progression of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases, and psychiatric illnesses.
The brain is not one self-contained system; it is part of the human system and interacts with an external environment. The intersection of brain health and the physical environment has not been well studied, but we know that environmental impacts on brain health will become more pronounced with the potential for more infectious outbreaks – including future pandemics – as the climate warms, human built-environments expand, and animal-human interactions expand.
VINEx will bring together fields and disciplines (such as neurosciences, neurology, immunology and virology) that may not have previously worked together to ideate, formulate and execute an agenda to progress research and care, and be better prepared for the next pandemic.
VINEx ACTION TANK MODEL
VINEx is an action tank which seeks to raise and advance our understanding of how infectious agents may impact brain health, and catalyze diverse communities to develop and act on proposed solutions. Providing thought, policy and communications leadership are generally in the scope of think tanks. An action tank goes farther in leading and effecting meaningful change, including by rallying governments and other funders to invest in areas that have previously been underfunded because they are not on the radar.
The sequence (strategic and thought leadership, communications leadership, and funding leadership) is important. Advancing research is not just about more money; it is about a smarter way to do research that is more efficient, effective and outcome focused.
Strategic and thought leadership
to be an issue, people and organization catalyst to advance research areas that have been under the radar, have complexity, and require imagination to “connect the dots,” write the narrative, and determine the most impactful path forward.
to bring issues and proposed solutions into the public space and conversation and/or before decision makers to inform policy, practice and funding.
to match capital and opportunity, and secure resources and partners to execute action plans.