The proposed members of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens (SAGO) were selected for their expertise in areas such as epidemiology, animal health, clinical medicine, virology and genomics.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the news during his regular briefing from Geneva.
“SAGO will advise WHO on the development of a global framework to define and guide studies on the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2”, a- he declared.
“The emergence of new viruses that can trigger epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and although SARS-CoV-2 is the last virus of its kind, it will not be the last.”
Next ‘Disease X’
The 26 scientists come from several countries and were selected from over 700 applications following a global call.
A two-week public comment period will take place for WHO to receive comments on the proposed SAGO members.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Officer on COVID-19[female[feminine, said the world needs to be better prepared for any future ‘disease X’.
Responding to a reporter’s question, she anticipated that SAGO would recommend further studies in China, and potentially elsewhere, to understand the origins of the new coronavirus.
While SAGO will advise WHO, any future missions will be organized by the UN agency and the country in question.
“I want to make it very clear that SAGO is not the next mission team. There have been misrepresentations about this in the future, ”she said.