Plans in place for ‘Global Pandemic Radar’

The Prime Minister has announced plans for a new ‘Global Pandemic Radar’ to identify and track new COVID variants and emerging diseases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will lead work with the UK, Wellcome Trust other partners to launch an advanced international pathogen surveillance network which will help save lives and protect health systems by spotting diseases before they cause future pandemics and enable the rapid development of vaccines, treatments and tests.

Boris Johnson was updated on work already happening in this area, including the newly-opened global WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence based in Berlin. WHO surveillance has also identified the B.1.617 variant, first found in India, in more than 50 countries so far.

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.

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.”