Launch of WHO Pandemic Early Warning Center with PIK Researcher Sabine Gabrysch

 
09/03/2021 - The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a pandemic early warning center in Berlin this week to assist in better preparing for future pandemics. The center was opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - with a panel discussion in which Sabine Gabrysch from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) also participated.
Launch of WHO Pandemic Early Warning Center with PIK Researcher Sabine Gabrysch
Panelists included PIK researcher Sabine Gabrysch (second from left) Fabiola Gianotti (CERN Director General, third from right), Katalin Karikó (BioNTech Senior Vice President) and Chikwe Ihekweazu (Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and future director of the new pandemic center). Photo: Hermann Lotze-Campen

The goal of the Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence is to detect or prevent pandemic outbreaks at an early stage and thus better protect the world from future pandemics. Specifically, information from around the world will converge at the hub to detect threats such as those posed by Corona as early as possible. The panel discussion focused on the 'lessons learned' from COVID-19 and the links between pandemics, zoonotic diseases, environmental degradation and climate change. Participants in the panel were PIK researcher Sabine Gabrysch (PIK Potsdam and Charité Berlin), Fabiola Gianotti (Director General of the Nuclear Research Center CERN), Katalin Karikó (Senior Vice President of the vaccine manufacturer BioNTech) and Chikwe Ihekweazu (Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and future Director of the new Pandemic Center).

Other future tasks of the Pandemic Early Warning Center include:

  • improved access to data sources that inform disease occurrence, evolution, and impact;
  • developing state-of-the-art tools to process, analyze, and model data for detection, assessment, and response;
  • making these tools available to WHO, its Member States, and partners as a basis for better and faster decisions on how to deal with outbreak signals and events;
  • international research collaboration: institutions and networks that develop solutions to combat disease outbreaks will be linked.

Initially, the center will be located on the premises of the Charité, one of the founding partners. However, according to the WHO, it will have its own campus in Kreuzberg in the future.