WHO, Germany open Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin

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WHO, Germany open Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin
New hub’s mission is to provide the world with better data, analytics and decisions to detect and respond to health emergencies
1 September 2021 News release Berlin
To better prepare and protect the world from global disease threats, H.E. German Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General, will today inaugurate the new WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, based in Berlin.

“The world needs to be able to detect new events with pandemic potential and to monitor disease control measures on a real-time basis to create effective pandemic and epidemic risk management,” said Dr Tedros. “This Hub will be key to that effort, leveraging innovations in data science for public health surveillance and response, and creating systems whereby we can share and expand expertise in this area globally.”


The WHO Hub, which is receiving an initial investment of US$ 100 million from the Federal Republic of Germany, will harness broad and diverse partnerships across many professional disciplines, and the latest technology, to link the data, tools and communities of practice so that actionable data and intelligence are shared for the common good.

The  WHO Hub is part of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme and will be a new collaboration of countries and partners worldwide, driving innovations to increase availability of key data; develop state of the art analytic tools and predictive models for risk analysis; and link communities of practice around the world. Critically, the WHO Hub will support the work of public health experts and policy-makers in all countries with the tools needed to forecast, detect and assess epidemic and pandemic risks so they can take rapid decisions to prevent and respond to future public health emergencies.

“Despite decades of investment, COVID-19 has revealed the great gaps that exist in the world’s ability to forecast, detect, assess and respond to outbreaks that threaten people worldwide,” said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergency Programme. “The WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence is designed to develop the data access, analytic tools and communities of practice to fill these very gaps, promote collaboration and sharing, and protect the world from such crises in the future.”


The Hub will work to:
Enhance methods for access to multiple data sources vital to generating signals and insights on disease emergence, evolution and impact;
Develop state of the art tools to process, analyze and model data for detection, assessment and response;
Provide WHO, our Member States, and partners with these tools to underpin better, faster decisions on how to address outbreak signals and events; and
Connect and catalyze institutions and networks developing disease outbreak solutions for the present and future.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, currently Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, has been appointed to lead the WHO Hub. WHO would like to acknowledge the Nigerian government for its support, which ensures strong leadership for this important initiative…



3 September 2021 Remarks
Director-General’s opening remarks at Building Resilience Through Innovation in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in LDCs Islamic Development Bank

1 September 2021 Remarks
Dr Michael Ryan’s remarks at the launch of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence

1 September 2021 Remarks
Director-General’s opening remarks at the Memorandum of Understanding with the Robert Koch Institute

1 September 2021 Remarks
Director-General’s remarks at the inauguration of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence



31 August 2021
WHO compendium of innovative health technologies for low-resource settings 2021. COVID-19
The response to the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis has exacerbated the need for rapid evidence-based assessments of innovative health technologies to ensure safe and appropriate use. Thus, the
objectives of the 2021 compendium are to:
1. Select innovative technologies that can have an immediate or future impact on the COVID-19
preparedness and response, have the potential to improve health outcomes and quality of
life, and/or offer a solution to an unmet medical/health technology need by evaluating their
appropriateness, quality, and safety.
2. Shed light on advantages and challenges associated with the adoption of innovative health
technologies in low-resource settings.
3. Acknowledge some success stories and, at the same time, raise awareness of the pressing need for appropriate and affordable design solutions and encourage more innovative efforts in the field.
4. Encourage greater interaction among the ministries of health, procurement officers, donors,
technology developers, manufacturers, clinicians, academics and the general public to ensure
greater investment in appropriate health technology and a move toward universal access to
essential health technologies.
5. Support informed procurement decisions by NGOs, governments, and other stakeholders.


Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 30 August 2021
In this edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Operational Update, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to countries include:
GeneXpert machine donated to Belize’s Central Medical Laboratory
Supporting quality management implementation, coordination and costing as part of the COVID-19 laboratory response in Kyrgyzstan
15 000 kg of medical supplies arrive in Fiji to support the response to a surge in COVID-19 cases
Extending COVID-19 vaccination to Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar camps in Bangladesh
Responding to COVID-19 in Jordan: The Innovative Use of Online Platforms
The Elsje Finck-Sanichar College COVAB in Suriname embraces OpenWHO and online learning during COVID-19 pandemic
Progress on a subset of indicators from the SPRP 2021 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
Updates on WHO’s financing to support countries in SPRP 2021 implementation and provision of critical supplies.


Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 31 August 2021
With just under 4.4 million new cases reported this week (23-29 August), the number of new cases reported globally remains similar to the previous week after increasing for nearly two months (since mid-June). In the past week all regions reported either a decline (Africa, Americas) or a similar trend (Europe, South-East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean) in new cases, except for the Western Pacific Region which reported a 7% increase as compared to previous week. The number of deaths reported globally this week were also similar to last week, with just over 67 000 new deaths reported. The Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific Regions reported an increase in the number of weekly deaths, 9% and 16% respectively, while the South-East Asia Region reported the largest decrease (20%). The cumulative number of cases reported globally is now nearly 216 million and the cumulative number of deaths is just under 4.5 million.

In this edition, a special focus update is provided on:
SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta which includes updates on the geographic distribution of these VOCs as well as a description of a newly classified Variant of Interest (VOI), Mu.

“…Based on the latest round of assessments, B.1.621 was classified as a VOI on 30 August 2021 and given the WHO label “Mu”. This includes the descendent Pango lineage B.1.621.1. This variant is known as 21H in Nextstrain nomenclature. The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape. Preliminary data presented to the Virus Evolution Working Group show a reduction in neutralization capacity of convalescent and vaccinee sera similar to that seen for the Beta variant, but this needs to be confirmed by further studies.
Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been a few sporadic reports of cases of the Mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been reported from other countries in South America and in Europe. As of 29 August, over 4500 sequences (3794 sequences of B.1.621 and 856 sequences of B.1.621.1) have been uploaded to GISAID from 39 countries. Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased….”