WHO to open a global pandemic ‘intelligence’ hub in Germany

A healthcare worker will take care of a Covid 19 patient in the intensive care unit of the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

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The World Health Organization has announced plans for a “Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence” in Germany to help collect data to predict and prevent future pandemics.

The new center for pandemic and epidemic information, data, surveillance and analysis will be based in Berlin, but will involve global collaboration between countries and partners around the world.

The hub, which is due to officially open later this year, is set to create a large network of global data “to predict, prevent, detect and respond to pandemic and epidemic risks worldwide,” the WHO said in a statement on Wednesday.

The WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Wednesday, “One of the lessons from Covid-19 is that the world needs a significant advance in data analytics to help executives make informed public health decisions.”

“This requires harnessing the potential of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, combining different data sources and working together across multiple disciplines. Better data and better analysis lead to better decisions,” he said at a press conference announcing the creation of the hub .

Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video message that the current Covid-19 pandemic “has taught us that we can only fight pandemics and epidemics together. The new WHO hub will be a global platform for pandemic prevention where various state, academic and academic organizations participate in private sector institutions. “

She welcomed the WHO’s decision to set up the hub in Berlin, even though the international health authority insisted that the hub would be a global collaboration between WHO member countries, public and private sector organizations, academia and international partner networks.

Funding for the hub has not yet been completed, although the start-up costs have been covered by Germany, said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn stated that the world must “identify pandemic and epidemic risks as quickly as possible, wherever they occur in the world. To that end, we need to strengthen the global early warning system through an improved collection of health related data and interdisciplinary risk analysis. “

The Covid-19 pandemic first appeared in China at the end of 2019. To date, over 154 million cases have been reported worldwide. According to the Johns Hopkins University, over 3.2 million people have died worldwide.

The origin of the pandemic remains unclear, and on Wednesday there were questions from journalists how and whether the WHO could guarantee that data would be openly shared with the hub if speculation continues about the first Covid-19 outbreak and whether China will die Alerting the rest of the world is delaying the presence of the new virus.

Earlier this year, WHO global experts and a team of Chinese officials investigated the source of the virus, but did not come to any concrete conclusions.

WHO said it was “highly likely” that the virus originated from animals before it spread to humans and rejected a theory that the disease could have leaked from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The team suggested further research in all areas except the laboratory leak hypothesis.

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