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PSI and the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence will collaborate to improve the detection and tracking of infectious diseases.

© Ryan Cowan/PSI
Dr Oliver Morgan and Prof Sir Peter Horby

The Pandemic Sciences Institute (PSI) at the University of Oxford and the World Health Organization Hub For Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence (WHO Hub) have announced a new strategic partnership to support disease surveillance alongside pandemic and epidemic intelligence.

The new partnership includes the application of data science and analytical frameworks for early warning, detection, tracking and monitoring of health threats.

The agreement was signed earlier this month at the International Pandemic Sciences Conference in Oxford, hosted by PSI, where delegates from over 40 countries came together to discuss the latest advances in pandemic sciences.

The collaboration with the WHO Hub will further PSI’s mission to improve global understanding of infectious diseases – their biology, behaviour and implications – from the molecular to the population level. 

Dr Moritz Kraemer, Investigator at the Pandemic Sciences Institute and Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford, welcomed the new alliance:

“The world continues to see outbreaks of diseases that have the potential to cause large and devastating epidemics and pandemics, such as Cholera, Dengue, among many others. It is critically important that we predict and track these health threats, so the international community can be better prepared and ready to respond.

“This partnership builds on decades of collaboration between the University of Oxford and WHO and will enable the development of global, equitable and modern public health tools to accelerate the response to growing risks from infectious diseases.”

 

ABOUT THE NEW COLLABORATION

Forming part of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence supports countries and stakeholders to address future pandemic and epidemic risks with better access to data, better analytical capacities, and better tools and insights for decision-making. 

The WHO Hub was established in September 2021 in Berlin, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The partnership is expected to:

  • Develop analytical frameworks, algorithms and other data science methods to improve pandemic preparedness and response.
  • Deliver methodologies to integrate, interrogate and exchange epidemiological, genomic, clinical and metadata in analytic frameworks so that countries can better detect and respond to outbreaks.   
  • Develop methodologies to collect, harmonise, interpret and communicate information on policies and behaviours around pandemics.
  • Ensure bioinformatics tools are integrated during outbreak responses to better identify the pathogens causing each outbreak.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Assistant Director-General and Head of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence said:

“Academic partners are crucial for being better prepared for the next pandemic or epidemic. Our agreement with the Pandemic Sciences Institute is very exciting as it will enable the kinds of collaboration that ensure world class science is driving pandemic preparedness globally.”

Supporting the new collaboration, Alasdair MacDonald at the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership said: 

“We’re delighted to see this partnership between Oxford’s Pandemic Sciences Institute and the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence take shape. 

“International collaborations such as this are absolutely vital, not only for the global fight against infectious diseases, but also for the type of broader scientific and academic links of which the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership is a leading example.” 

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