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The WHO appointed the 26 scientists who should study the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic: “Perhaps it is our last chance”

With countless theories surrounding the emergence of the coronavirus, a new group of experts was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to unravel the origin of Covid-19. It involves 26 researchers, from 26 countries, who will have to analyze the beginnings of high-risk pathogens that appeared or reappeared. “Perhaps it is our last chance to understand the origins of this virus,” he said. Michael Ryan, director of the sanitary emergency program of the international entity.

“The emergence of new viruses that can trigger epidemics and pandemics is an inescapable reality of nature, and if SARS-CoV-2 is the most recent of these viruses, it will not be the last,” he said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, during the press conference announcing the launch of the new “Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens”(SAGO).

The call reached about 700 applicants, of which 26 were selected (11 are women). “According to WHO procedures, there will be a public consultation period of two weeks, so that comments are received on the proposals of the members of SAGO and so that the modalities of the first meeting are put into operation “, they detailed from the international organization in a statement. “It is perhaps our last chance to understand the origins of this virus“Said Ryan, director of the Health Emergency Program of the multinational entity.

In that sense, Maria Van Kerkhove, responsible for managing the Covid-19 epidemic at WHO, explained that “this consultation group will advise WHO on the next emergency measures to be taken, and then WHO will work with all member states, including China. , to carry out what must be done ”. “There is no time to lose”, He asserted.

What are the objectives that SAGO members will pursue

Among the designated scientists can be virologists and epidemiologists, among other specialties, which are from 26 nations and they work in institutions such as the University of Oxford, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC), the Pasteur Institute and the Brazilian Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.

Regarding SARS-CoV-2, there is a small number that was part of the first mission that was deployed at the beginning of the year in Wuhan (China) and that, at the end of March, published a report where it was admitted that none of the four hypotheses (zoonotic transmission from an intermediary animal; jumping without an intermediary, ingestion of an infected animal, or escape from a laboratory) could be ruled out.

In the report issued by the first group, the scientists highlighted that some 200 thousand blood samples stored in Wuhan could be analyzed for clues, since they estimated that there would be some cases before the outbreak is declared. According to the Chinese Government, they could not have been analyzed before for “legal reasons” and that after the two years have elapsed, this can be done without further obstacles.

It is worth clarifying that, in addition to Covid-19, these scientists must reveal the origin of MERS-CoV (respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus), bird flu, and Lassa, Marburg, and Ebola viruses. But that’s not all, they will also need to assess future outbreaks and epidemics, and guide studies of other emerging pathogens.

Who should investigate the origin of Covid-19 and the new pathogens

In order to speed up the acceptance steps, the WHO published the names and countries of origin of each of the SAGO specialists:

  • El Sr. Phillip Alviola: Associate Professor in the Division of Animal Biology of the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of the Philippines (he is originally from the Philippines).
  • El Dr. Abdullah Asiri: Deputy Deputy Minister of Preventive Health in the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (hailing from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
  • El Dr. Stuart Blacksell: Professor of Tropical Microbiology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford (he is originally from Australia).
  • La Dra. Inger Damon: Director of the Division of Pathogens and High Consequence Pathogens of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC) (he is originally from the United States).
  • El Dr. Vladimir Dedkov: Deputy Director of Research at the Pasteur Institute in Russia (he is originally from Russia).
  • El Dr. Christian Drosten: professor and director of the Institute of Virology of Charité in Germany (he is originally from Germany).
  • Dr. Elmoubasher Farag is a senior infectious disease epidemiologist and the Head of Communicable Disease Control Programs of the Qatari Ministry of Public Health (originally from Sudan).
  • La Dra. Thea Fischer– Professor of Virology at the University of Copenhagen and Head of Clinical Research at Nordsjaellands Hospital in Denmark (originally from Denmark).
  • Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar: National President Dr. CG Pandit at the Indian Council of Medical Research in India (he is originally from India).
  • Dr. Nada Ghosn: Head of the Epidemiological Surveillance Program and medical officer of the Prevention Directorate of the Ministry of Health of Lebanon (he is originally from Lebanon).
  • Dr. María Guzmán: Head of the Center for Research, Diagnosis and Reference of the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine in Cuba (he is originally from Cuba).
  • El Dr. Christian Happi: Professor and Director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Ede, Nigeria (hailing from Cameroon).
  • La Dra. Marion Koopmans: teacher and head of the Viroscience department at Erasmus MC (she is originally from the Netherlands).
  • El Dr. South Ly: Deputy Director of the Epidemiology and Public Health Unit of the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (he is originally from Cambodia).
  • Dr. Jean-Claude Manuguerra: research director of the Environment and Infectious Risks Unit, and director of the Emergency Biological Intervention Unit of the Pasteur Institute in France (he is originally from France).
  • El Dr. Khin Myint– Head of the Emerging Virus Research Unit at the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, Indonesia (originally from Myanmar).
  • Dr. Carlos M. Morel: Director of the Center for Technological Development in Health of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and of the Ministry of Health of Brazil (he is originally from Brazil).
  • Dr. Hung Nguye n-Viet: co-leader of the Human and Animal Health Program at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya (hails from Vietnam).
  • El Dr. Chinwe Ochu: Director of Prevention Programs and Knowledge Management at the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (originally from Nigeria).
  • El Dr. Masayuki Saijo: Director of the Medical Planning Department of the Sapporo City Health and Welfare Office in Sapporo, Japan (originally from Japan).
  • La Dra. Rosemary Sang– Advisor and Research Director, Center for Virus Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya (originally from Kenya).
  • La Dra. Katharina Summermatter: Head of the Biosafety Center and Managing Director of the Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory at the Institute of Infectious Diseases at the University of Bern in Switzerland (she is originally from Switzerland).
  • La Dra. Marietjie Venter– Professor of the Zoonotic Arboviruses and Respiratory Viruses Research Program at the Center for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology, University of Pretoria in South Africa (originally from South Africa).
  • Dr. Supaporn Wacharapluesadee: Researcher at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross and committee member of the Chula School of Global Health, College of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University (originally from Thailand).
  • Dr. John Watson: Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Visiting Professor in the Department of Infection Research and Population Health, University College London (hailing from the UK) .
  • El Dr. Yungui Yang |: Deputy Director of the Beijing Genomics Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China. (He is originally from China).

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