Agreements, Collaboration Required for Future Pandemics
The WHO created the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) to lead international efforts to monitor outbreaks and prevent future pandemics.
Pandemics have shaped the course of humanity throughout history by shaping population trends, health systems, body’s immunological responses and economies. These health emergencies led to the creation of the WHO, which now needs to strengthen its capabilities to manage public health as the world becomes more globalized.
In its capacity as an advisory body to the WHO, SAGO will guide the development of a global framework to study the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential.
SAGO is only one of WHO’s efforts to prevent and manage future outbreaks. Health ministers from WHO's 194 member states will hold a three-day special assembly next Monday to try to clinch a deal that will strengthen the agency's ability to address pandemics. This move comes after the WHO has criticized for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, not all countries are onboard with this initiative. While the EU is backing this meeting with the support of 70 other countries, “the US has laid down a "red line" that it does not yet want to commit to a legally-binding treaty, but backs the idea of an agreement and is supported by Brazil and India,” according to Reuters.
Mexico has highlighted the need of international cooperation during UN presentations. During the UN Security Council, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines because pharmaceutical companies sold 94 percent of doses and only 6 percent went to the COVAX program for distribution to poor countries.
“The spirit of cooperation is losing ground to the desire for profit and this is leading us to slide from civilization into barbarity,” López Obrador said. “We are moving forward, alienated, forgetting moral principles and turning our backs on the pain of humanity.”