WHO: First meeting of Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO)
24 November 2021 News release
WHO´s Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) held its first meeting yesterday (SAGO) held its first meeting yesterday. The meeting was largely procedural, and included the appointment of the Chair (Dr. Marietjie Venter from South Africa) and Vice-Chair (Dr Jean-Claude Manuguerra from France). As per established WHO procedures for advisory expert groups, SAGO meetings will not be public. WHO will provide updates on their work as appropriate.
The group agreed to meet frequently and focus urgently on advising on the overarching framework to study the emergence of novel pathogens, as well as to rapidly undertake an assessment of the current understanding of the origins of SARS-CoV-2 , the virus that causes COVID-19. SAGO is composed of experts acting in a personal capacity and will work with additional experts from various technical areas as needed.
In its capacity as an advisory body to WHO, the SAGO will have the following functions, as per its terms of reference:
To advise WHO on the development of a WHO global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential;
To advise WHO on prioritizing studies and field investigations into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, in accordance with the WHO global framework described in point (1) above;
To provide information and views to assist the WHO Secretariat in the development of a detailed work plan of the SAGO;
In the context of SARS-CoV-2 origins:
To provide the WHO Secretariat with an independent evaluation of all available scientific and technical findings from global studies on the origins of SARS-CoV-2;
To advise the WHO Secretariat regarding developing, monitoring and supporting the next series of studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, including rapid advice on WHO’s operational plans to implement the next series of global studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, as outlined in the Joint WHO-China Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part report published on 30 March 2021 and advise on additional studies as needed; and
To provide additional advice and support to WHO, as requested by the WHO SAGO Secretariat, which may include participation in future WHO-international missions to study the origins of SARS-CoV-2 or other emerging pathogens.