For almost 15 years, the AXA Research Fund’s philanthropic undertaking has been to support and disseminate excellent and innovative science to inform decision-making in the face of global challenges. As 2020 unfolds, a single challenge – the emergence of the COVID-19 virus – has simultaneously affected the multiple, interlocking areas that compose the fabric of our society: it has shaken our health systems, challenged our scientific knowledge of pandemics and infectious diseases, unsettled our economies while exacerbating inequalities, and exposed the links between our health and that of our environment.
COVID-19 has triggered a profound rethink of our current systems, from the structure of healthcare to the way we collect data – and even to the vitality of our economic and political organizations. It also brings into question how we address the protection of the most vulnerable groups in our societies and how we could develop holistic policies that include social and environmental sustainability.
In line with AXA’s purpose of acting for human progress by protecting what matters, it was only natural for us to turn to our community of AXA-funded researchers for their expert analysis during these unprecedented times. We have brought together the expertise of these top-tier academics with that of Members of our Scientific Board and of AXA leadership. Collectively, they share with us their mid-term perspectives on this crisis. They discuss the lessons learned and currently being learned, the possible paths to mitigation and the role that insurance can play in supporting the recovery – especially for the hardest hit sectors and populations.
To all our experts, I extend my sincere thanks for their commitment, availability, passion and involvement in providing these enlightening viewpoints, which contribute to our understanding of the world, help us move forward and encourage us to better confront the challenges to come.