The world must be better prepared for “Disease X” – WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reminded countries and people that pandemics are not over.


Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19, gave the advice at a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.


The official stated that the world must be better prepared for any future “Disease X”.


Kerkhove spoke as the WHO formed an expert group that will examine the origin of infectious agents including SARS-CoV-2, the root of coronavirus.


The Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) will study emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential.


Kerkhove anticipates SAGO’s recommendation for further studies in China, and potentially elsewhere.


The team will advise the WHO but future missions will be organised by the UN agency and relevant countries.


“I want to make it very clear that the SAGO is not the next mission team. There’s been some misrepresentation about that”, Kerkhove said.


The body comprises 26 scientists from different countries. They were selected from over 700 applications.

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