Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition to help prevent future pandemics is announced

March 12, 2021

Abbott announced the formation of the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition, a global scientific and public health partnership dedicated to the early detection of, and rapid response to, future pandemic threats.

By connecting global centers of excellence in laboratory testing, genetic sequencing and public health research, the program will identify new pathogens, analyze potential risk level, rapidly develop and deploy new diagnostic testing and assess public health impact in real time. The sequences of the viruses that are found will be published in a public database so that health officials and laboratories can work together to identify if it's a novel strain, or a virus that has previously been detected. This program expands upon the viral surveillance and discovery work that Abbott has performed over the last three decades.

"We cannot fight what we cannot see coming. This program establishes a global network of 'eyes on the ground' that are always looking for threats, which helps the global health community to stay one step ahead of the next viral threat, and allows us to utilize Abbott's expertise and technology to quickly develop tests to address them," said Gavin Cloherty, Ph.D., head of infectious disease research at Abbott. "The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for advanced surveillance and viral sequencing – and the critically important role of testing. Understanding what pathogenic threats are emerging will help us test, diagnose and hopefully help prevent the next pandemic."

The new Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition consists of global collaborators specializing in virus identification, surveillance, sample collection, testing and data analytics. The process to identify potential new viral threats begins with physicians across the network identifying patients with unknown conditions that they cannot treat or diagnose. Next, patient samples are tested by our partners on a global scale, followed by genetic sequencing and analyses to spot trends and identify peculiarities that may indicate an emerging threat or outbreak. If a potential threat is discovered, Abbott will quickly develop diagnostic testing to assist in containment efforts.

Abbott's network of partners includes organizations in strategic geographic locations:

Colombia/Wisconsin One-Health Consortium at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin, Colombia

· Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

· Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formations (IRESSEF), Dakar, Senegal

· KRISP, Genomic Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

· Rush University System for Health, Chicago, U.S.

· The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

· Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

· YRG Care, Chennai, India Abbott is in talks with additional non-governmental organizations, governments and research centers of excellence regarding participation and collaboration.

Abbott created its Global Viral Surveillance Program more than 25 years ago to monitor HIV and hepatitis viruses and identify mutations, which helps ensure the company's diagnostic tests remain up to date and enable researchers to proactively evaluate and solve infectious disease challenges. This surveillance program will now be a part of the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition. The company recently announced the discovery of a high prevalence of HIV Controllers – a group of people living with controlled HIV without antiretroviral medications in the Democratic Republic of Congo1, which could hold the key to a cure. Abbott also announced the finding of a new strain of HIV in 20192.

Looking ahead, Abbott will focus on testing and digital solutions accessible to more people in more places for many of the world's most pressing health challenges, including infectious diseases. This work also is part of Abbott's 2030 sustainability strategy which includes a focus on transforming the care of infectious diseases.

Abbott has the release.

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