World Health Organization (WHO) will be setting up a Data-hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, in Berlin, Germany. The hub will start operating later this year which will be continuously monitoring and analyzing the pandemic and epidemic related data quickly and in detail, in order to detect, predict, prepare and prevent the disease-related risks worldwide. Presently, the hub will be more useful in filling the gaps in information on emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 causing Covid-19.
The decision to create a hub for pandemics also came from the lessons learned from Covid-19. As per a joint mission by Chinese and scientists worldwide, SARS-CoV-2 outbreak started as far back as September 2019, long before it was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan. When the Epidemic Intelligence Service of WHO came to know about it from a news report and a mentioning from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission about a “mysterious pandemic”, it was too late.
Scientists are of the opinion that there had been certain ‘pre-signals’ for any such an outbreak, and so looking for such pre-signals seem extremely important. According to Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, such ‘pre-signals’ could drive early decision-making. As per Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, budget for the hub is still under discussion, but Germany will be meeting the initial start-up costs. The hub will be operational from September 2021.