Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 | Page 62

To avoid repeating past mistakes , the WHO CA + emphasises the establishment of an informationsharing system that covers pathogens with pandemic potential .
Financial sustainability and certainty Achieving the objectives of the WHO CA + will require national governments to fulfil their primary financial responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the health of their populations . Member states are encouraged to raise financial resources for successful implementation of the WHO CA + through bilateral and multilateral funding arrangements , allocate more funding to strengthen their local healthcare systems , and push for enhanced collaboration between health , private , and finance sectors in realising universal health coverage .
Moreover , they should facilitate the timely and effective mobilisation of necessary financial resources , primarily from international financing channels , for impacted nations to continue and restore routine public health operations during and after a pandemic response . �nder the agreement , financial and development institutions should also commit to provide financial assistance to developing countries .
Increasing R & D capabilities among member states Empowering medical science and public health institutions to conduct innovative research and development ( R & D ) on pandemic-related studies is vital to preventing future outbreaks . This can be achieved by increasing funding for R & D and promoting the practice of data and information sharing via open science channels for the rapid dissemination of study findings and research outcomes . Member states can direct their relevant agencies to conduct innovative R & D in novel pathogens and emerging diseases with pandemic potential and cultivate a robust clinical research ecosystem focusing on pandemic recovery .
Improving access to and sharing of pathogen data One key mistake during the COVID-19 pandemic was slow information sharing , especially at the beginning of the outbreak , stressed Dr Leong , with late acknowledgement that the new virus could transmit from person to person , which stymied early awareness and preparation in most countries .
To avoid repeating past mistakes , the WHO CA + emphasises the establishment of an informationsharing system that covers pathogens with pandemic potential . Called the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing ( PABS ) System , it will also provide data on genomic sequences and patient information . Member states will be required to direct their research facilities to submit pathogens with pandemic potential from early infections or subsequent variants to a WHO-coordinated network laboratory and upload the genomic sequences to a publicly accessible database . The PABS system will be positioned as a standardised , real-time global and regional platform that will provide accessible and reusable data to all member states in planning their respective pandemic measures .
An example of such data is the work being done in the UK where researchers are already working on technology to monitor genetic changes in respiratory viruses across the globe that could help identify new pathogens potentially able to spark another pandemic .
“ Britain was at the leading edge of the genomic surveillance of COVID-19 and was responsible for about 20 percent of all the Sars-CoV-2 genomes that were sequenced across the planet during the pandemic ,” said Dr Ewan Harrison , who is leading the project at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK , to the Guardian .
“ The knowledge and data we generated allowed us to track – with unprecedented speed and accuracy – Sars-CoV-2 , the virus responsible for Covid-19 , and to monitor how it was changing . It was a wonderful aid in helping to fight the disease . Now we are aiming to contribute building a global genomic surveillance for all respiratory viruses . These , after all , are the agents most likely to trigger new pandemics ,” Dr Harrison added .
Increasing R & D capabilities is one way to help prevent future outbreaks .
Protecting wild places and promoting environmental health matter The draft also highlights that most emerging infectious diseases and pandemics are caused by pathogens jumping from animals to humans , meaning that reducing the risk of such spillovers is an important preventive approach .
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