Geneva, May 20 (SocialNews.XYZ) The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday announced a new global network that will help detect and respond to disease threats before they become an epidemic or pandemic, and optimize routine disease surveillance.
The International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN) will provide a platform to connect countries and regions and improve systems for collecting and analyzing samples using this data to make public health decisions and to share this information more widely.
Pathogen genomics analyzes the genetic code of viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing organisms to understand how contagious, how deadly, and how they spread.
With this information, scientists and public health officials can identify and track diseases to prevent and respond to outbreaks as part of a broader disease surveillance system and develop vaccines.
“The goal of this new network is ambitious, but it can also play a key role in health security: to give every country access to genome sequencing and analysis of pathogens within the public health system,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
“As we were clearly shown during the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is stronger when it stands together to fight common health threats,” he added.
The Covid pandemic has highlighted the critical role that pathogen genomics plays in responding to pandemic threats. Without the rapid sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, vaccines would not be as effective or would be made available so quickly.
New, more infectious variants of the virus would not be identified so quickly. Genomics is at the heart of effective preparedness and response to outbreaks and pandemics, and is part of the ongoing surveillance of a wide range of diseases, from foodborne illnesses and influenza to tuberculosis and HIV.
Its use, for example, in monitoring the spread of HIV drug resistance has led to antiretroviral regimes that have saved countless lives.
Despite the recent increase in genomics capacity in countries as a result of the Covid pandemic, many still lack effective systems for collecting and analyzing samples or using this data to inform public health decisions.
The IPSN will tackle these challenges through a global network that connects geographical areas and disease-specific networks to build a collaborative system to better detect, prevent and respond to diseases.
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