‘Last chance’ to determine origins of Covid-19, says WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the names proposed by it for a team of experts, which it described as the world's “last chance” to determine the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which birthed the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Making the announcement, the world health body said on Wednesday that it has proposed 26 names, out of 700 applications received by it, for the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO).
The group, WHO noted, will advise it on the development of a global framework for studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2.
Taking to Twitter, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the experts were chosen for their “world-class expertise” and experience cutting across disciplines. “The selection was on the basis of their geographic and gender diversity as well. We thank all those who expressed their interest in SAGO,” he added.
Ghebreyesus also laid out the procedure through which the final composition of the advisory group will be established. He posted, “There will now be a two-week public consultation period for us to receive feedback on the proposed SAGO members, following which its composition will be confirmed, and the group will have its first meeting.”
The experts have been selected from across fields such as epidemiology, animal health, ecology, clinical medicine, virology, genomics, molecular epidemiology, molecular biology, biology, food safety, biosafety, biosecurity and public health.
In the context of SARS-CoV-2, the team will have the following responsibilities: to provide the WHO Secretariat with an independent evaluation of findings from all available studies on the origins of the virus, and to provide suggestions to the Secretariat with issues regarding the the next series of researches on the origins of SARS-CoV-2.
(With agency inputs)