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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — A new landmark partnership between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the US National Centre for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analysis, run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is set to boost efforts to combat global pandemics and emerging health threats, according to a statement from the UK government.
By bolstering disease surveillance, as well as genomic and variant sequencing capacity worldwide, this partnership will accelerate the recovery from COVID-19 around the world and establish an early warning system to detect diseases — which in turn will help low and middle-income countries that do not yet have the same capabilities.
This commitment to prevent the spread of deadly pandemics comes as the leaders of the G7 meet this week to redouble efforts to defeat COVID-19 and build back better from it. Through the UK–US partnership, we will work with global partners including the World Health Organization (WHO) and philanthropic funders, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop global capacity for rapid genomic sequencing. This international approach to future pandemics builds on the Prime Minister’s recent launch of a new ‘Global Pandemic Radar’ to identify emerging COVID-19 variants and track new diseases around the world.
"As part of the partnership agreed by the two allies today, a brand new pathogen surveillance network will help saves lives and protect health systems by spotting diseases before they spread, while also helping enable accelerated development of vaccines, treatments and tests," the statement read.
To build on the UK’s global leadership role in health protection, a new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness (CPP) will be established as part of UKHSA. The CPP is set to become a world-leading hub for all aspects of pandemic preparedness, starting with genomic surveillance of human and animal infections in collaboration with a range of scientific and academic partners, that can be shared around the world.
Commenting on the agreement, Heath and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Our brilliant scientists have led the world in sequencing COVID-19 and played a pivotal role as disease detectives who are able to rapidly identify variants."
"To send this virus into retreat and stop the advances of future diseases, it is vital the whole world has access to the UK and US’s sophisticated surveillance and sequencing technologies."
"Through this new landmark partnership with our closest ally, we are sharing our expertise with the world, so together we can unite and take action to prevent the spread of future pandemics to keep people safe everywhere," Hancock added.
The launch follows the UK-hosted G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting last week where major democracies agreed to a new international approach to combat future health threats by working together to identify early warning signs from animals and the environment. — Agencies
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