World Health Organization, partners are going ahead with the launch of a global network that will help protect people from infectious disease threats by way of pathogen genomics.
The International Pathogens Surveillance Network will go on to provide a platform in order to connect countries as well as regions, enhance systems in order to collect and also analyse samples, use the data so as to drive public health decision-making, and also make sure to share the information more broadly.
Pathogen genomics measures the genetic code when it comes to viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing organisms so as to gauge how infectious they are, how deadly they can become, and how they proliferate. With this kind of data, scientists as well as public health officials can pinpoint and track diseases to safeguard them, respond to outbreaks, which is an element of a broader disease surveillance system, and also come up with treatments and vaccines.
The International Pathogens Surveillance Network, with a secretariat that is hosted by the WHO hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence, brings on board experts from around the world at the cutting edge when it comes to genomics as well as data analytics, right from philanthropic foundations, civil society, governments, academia, and also the private sector. All happen to share a common goal, which is to detect and respond to disease threats before they go on to become pandemics and epidemics and make regular disease surveillance better.
The objective of this network is nothing short of ambitious; however, it can go on to play a prominent role when it comes to health security and provide every nation connection to pathogen genomic sequencing and analytics as a part of the public health system, said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director General. He added that, as was earlier demonstrated during the pandemic, the world is indeed stronger when it stands with each other to fight common health threats.
Apparently, COVID-19 went on to highlight the crucial role that pathogen genomics plays when it comes to responding to threats such as a pandemic. Without the quick resequencing of the SARS-COV-2 genome, it would not have been possible for the virus to be effective or made available at such a rapid pace. Moreover, new and more transmissible variants wouldn’t have been quickly identified. Genomics use in monitoring the spread of HIV drug resistance has led to certain anti-viral regimes that have saved uncountable lives.
As per the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Rajiv Shah, the worldwide collaboration when it comes to pathogen genomic surveillance has been very important as the world goes on to fight COVID together. IPSN thrives upon this experience by building a robust platform for partners that are present across all sectors to share tools, knowledge, and practises to make sure that the prevention of the pandemic and the response to it are ahead of the times, innovative, and strong in the days ahead.
Despite the recent scale-up as far as the genomics capacity in nations due to COVID-19 is concerned, there are many who still lack an effective system so as to collect and also analyse the sample or use the data to drive public health in terms of decision-making. The fact is that there is still not enough data sharing, practises, or innovations to elevate the worldwide health surveillance architecture. Budgets that were at their peak during the pandemic, thereby allowing a quick build-up of activities, are now being curtailed even across the wealthiest nations of all.
The director of the National Genomics as well as Bioinformatics Centre in Argentina, Josefina Campos, remarked that their country happens to be deeply invested in coming up with their own capacity as far as pathogen genomics are concerned. Diseases, obviously, do not respect any borders; a threat to one country is a threat to another. They partner with IPSN members to achieve the common objective of preventing the illness and thereby saving lives.
The IPSN will go on to tackle these issues by way of a global network, connecting disease-specific networks as well as geographies, and building a network that’s collaborative to detect, safeguard, and also give a befitting response to the disease threats.
Members will go on to work together in groups that happen to focus on challenges that are specific, with the help of funding by the IPSN, so as to scale up ideas as well as projects when it comes to pathogen genomics.
The IPSN, which was formally launched on the side-lines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, happens to be a global network when it comes to pathogen genomic actors for pandemic and epidemic intelligence to accelerate the growth to the deployment of pathogen genomics and also improve public health decision-making. In IPSN every nation has equal access to sustained capacity in the case of genomic sequencing and analytics, which are part of the public health surveillance system. It looks to develop a supportive global network when it comes to genomic surveillance actors, which amplifies and quickens the work of the members so as to enhance access as well as equity.
The IPSN has three major functional bodies that bring together numerous sets of stakeholders that are supported by the secretariat at the WHO Pandemic Hub. Partners go on to bond in Communities of Practise and solve issues, thereby aiming to elevate harmonisation as well as innovation in pathogen genomics. When it comes to the Country-Scale-Up Accelerator, stakeholders go on to work together so as to align efforts and help in South-South exchange that would help in the nation’s capacity building. Both the COP and the CSUA go on to build together companies from across industries, incomes, and geographies with a commitment to global cooperation, equity, and deep expertise in either nation-scale up of surveillance systems or genomics.
Funders Forum is the third body to coordinate any philanthropic as well as multi-lateral and governmental donors around an elevated political attention and also invest in the efficiency of surveillance related to pathogen genomics. The Funders Forum also goes on to catalyse additional grant funding for IPSN members’ projects.
It is well to be noted that the IPSN establishment has been supported by funding from the German government for the WHO’s pandemic hub.
The WHO pandemic hub goes on to collaborate closely with member states as well as WHO regional and country offices so as to strengthen the data sharing capabilities and also help partners from across the world to bond as well as co-develop tools so as to gather and evaluate the data in terms of early warning surveillance. With its presence across 150 nations across the world, six regional offices, and a headquarters based in Geneva, WHO’s reach enables it to treat pandemics and public health risks with urgency and diligence.
By linking local, regional, and international initiatives, the WHO pandemic hub enables an environment that’s collaborative for scientists, innovators, and experts from an array of disciplines, thereby allowing them to leverage and share cutting-edge tech.
Upon building expertise across disciplines and sectors, the WHO pandemic hub will leverage the convening power of WHO to give out better solutions that happen to be built on the facets of worldwide partnership and trust.