FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, today released a set of recommendations that can be used to mobilize an early warning system for global pandemic threats. The authors call for greater cross-sector collaboration, better data sharing and transparency, more private sector involvement, and local, in-country ownership of surveillance capabilities, among other solutions.
“A Global Early Warning System for Pandemics: Mobilizing Surveillance for Emerging Pathogens” is the culmination of multiple workshops across a six-month period aimed at developing a framework for monitoring, identifying, and tracking health threats that could cause global harm. Recommendations come from FasterCures and its advisory group consisting of leaders across sectors including nonprofit, academia, finance, drug and diagnostic development, and technology.
“We are now in the second year of COVID-19, and governments are continuing to grapple with how to address new and emerging pathogens,” said Esther Krofah, Executive Director of FasterCures. “The pandemic revealed significant gaps in early warning capabilities, but we now know what it will take to develop a better, more effective system. It is critical that we act quickly, because as we have seen over the last year, the cost of doing nothing is too great.”
In addition to the key recommendations highlighted in the report, FasterCures outlines specific actions that can be taken immediately to stand-up an effective pathogen surveillance system, including developing a governing body with clear roles and responsibilities, creating financial and other incentives for sharing data, and incubating technology-focused collaboratives that can undertake real-time threat analysis.
“We clearly have the will, now we need to pave the way to an independent early-warning system that unites the international community in ways never before seen,” said Dr. Rick Bright, Senior Vice President of Pandemic Prevention and Response at the Rockefeller Foundation, a key contributor to the report. “We must drop the barriers to collaboration and innovation, while encouraging an end to the business-as-usual approach to pandemic preparedness that left us flatfooted early last year.”
Phil Febbo, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Illumina noted: “While the technology has been available for some time, incredible efforts during this pandemic have begun to lay a foundation of global surveillance infrastructure that didn’t previously exist. It’s now critically important to bring our efforts to scale through dedicated focus and close coordination to ensure global readiness to detect emerging threats to human health.”
“A Global Early Warning System for Pandemics: Mobilizing Surveillance for Emerging Pathogens” is co-authored by Esther Krofah, Carly Gasca, and Anna DeGarmo. The full report can be downloaded here.
FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is working to build a system that is effective, efficient, and driven by a clear vision: patient needs above all else. We believe that transformative and life-saving science should be fully realized and deliver better treatments to the people who need them. For more information, visit https://www.fastercures.org/.
About the Milken Institute
The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that helps people build meaningful lives in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities. For more information, visit https://milkeninstitute.org/.