In the first step to prepare for future pandemics, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set up a high-level scientific group inviting experts from across the world to join it and study the origins of Sars-CoV2, besides other high-threat pathogens. The WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) will meet as early as late September this year to finalise the way forward.

In a “Call for experts” this week, the WHO said, “It is seeking top minds to serve on the advisory group and up to 25 experts will be selected.”

The world body said the rapid emergence and spread of Covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 had highlighted the importance of being prepared for any future event, to be able to identify novel pathogens early and to address the risk factors that contribute to their emergence and spread.

“There has been an increase in the number of high-threat pathogens emerging and reemerging in recent years — SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Nipah, avian influenza, the latest being SARS-CoV-2. There is not only need for robust surveillance and early actions for rapid detection, but also a need for robust process to establish the study around the emergence of these pathogens and routes of transmission from their natural reservoirs to humans,” the WHO said.

The SAGO will advise the WHO on the development of a global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential. 

Source: 23 August, 2021, The Tribune