WHO unveils new team to investigate pandemic
The World Health Organization unveiled on Oct. 13 a team of scientists it wants to investigate new pathogens and preventing future pandemics - plus reviving the stalled probe into COVID-19's origins.
The group of 26 experts will be charged with producing a new global framework for studies into the origins of emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential - and their remit includes SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
Besides the COVID-19 crisis, a growing number of high-risk pathogens have appeared or reappeared in recent years, including MERS, bird flu viruses, Lassa, Marburg and Ebola.
The WHO announced earlier this year that it would set up a Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO).
"The emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and while SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential for preventing future outbreaks."
The 26 members that the WHO has put forward were chosen from a field of more than 700 applications and are drawn from a range of scientific disciplines.
And the team the WHO has named is subject to a two-week public consultation.
They include Christian Drosten, the head of Berlin's Institute of Virology; Yungui Yang of the Beijing Institute of Genomics; Jean-Claude Manuguerra of France's Institut Pasteur; and Inger Damon from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Several of the experts were on the joint WHO-China scientific mission investigating the origins of COVID-19: Vladimir Dedkov, Farag Elmoubasher, Thea Fischer, Marion Koopmans, Hung Nguyen and John...