Danger: Disease deadlier thanCOVID likely – WHO
THE world should be prepared to respond to a disease outbreak of “even deadlier potential” than COVID-19.
WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, disclosed in a speech at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, today.
Warning that the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency did not mean the global health threat was over, Ghebreyesus said the warning should serve as wake-up call on nations.
“When the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively and equitably. The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains. And the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains,”he said.
Explaining that WHO launched the International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN) to help identify and respond to emerging disease threats using genomics, he said it will track genetic information from viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing organisms can help scientists recognise and track diseases and develop treatments and vaccines. It can show how infectious or deadly a particular strain is, and how it spreads.
Also speaking, Rajiv Shah, president of Rockefeller Foundation said global collaboration in pathogen genomic surveillance had been “critical” during the fight against COVID-19.
“IPSN builds upon this experience by creating a strong platform for partners across sectors and borders to share knowledge, tools, and practices to ensure that pandemic prevention and response is innovative and robust in the future,” he added.
It will be recalled that earlier this month, WHO declared that COVID-19 was no longer a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern, saying the virus was now “an established and ongoing health issue.