The UK will be launching its new Global Pandemic Radar in a bid to identify and track new COVID-19 variants and emerging diseases.
The pathogen surveillance network will be able to spot new diseases before they cause pandemics, enabling the rapid development of vaccines, treatments, and tests.
The ‘Global Pandemic Radar’ is expected to be fully up and running with a network of surveillance hubs before the end of 2021, significantly improving global health security going into next year.
An international partnership
Led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and supported by the Wellcome Trust, the international partnership will allow for the identification, tracking, and sharing data on new coronavirus variants, as well as enabling the monitoring of vaccine resistance in populations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Tackling COVID-19 globally and ensuring we are better prepared for future health threats is an absolute priority for the UK’s G7 presidency. The world must never be caught unawares again by a virus spreading among us unchecked. We need to build a system of disease surveillance fit for the 21st century, with real-time data sharing and rapid genomic sequencing and response.
“A Global Pandemic Radar will ensure that we are vigilant to new variants and emerging pathogens and can rapidly develop the vaccines and treatments needed to stop them in their tracks.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO: “The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the vital need for a robust, modern system to keep the world ahead of emerging diseases through active monitoring at the community level, swift and accurate sequencing of new pathogens, and data-sharing across the globe. The UK has set a strong example for pathogen surveillance and sequencing, as well as vaccine development. I am delighted that under PM Johnson, the UK will partner with WHO to contribute to stronger global surveillance and a safer world.
“This announcement follows the publication today of new analysis commissioned by the UK government from Jeremy Farrar, Chair of the Wellcome Trust. The report sets out the mechanisms for a global pathogen surveillance system that can identify new variants of COVID-19 and detect other diseases before they become pandemics.”