The World Health Organization (WHO) announced 26 proposed members of the Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). The group will advise the WHO on the development of a global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2, the organization said in a news release.
The group’s responsibilities would include the participation in any potential future WHO-international missions to study the origins of SARS-CoV-2 or for other emerging pathogens.
“The emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and while SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, WHO Director-General.
Selected from more than 700 applications, the 26 proposed SAGO members have expertise in a range of areas, including epidemiology, animal health, ecology, clinical medicine, virology, genomics, molecular epidemiology, molecular biology, biology, food safety, biosafety, biosecurity and public health, the WHO said.
WHO also said it plans a two-week public comment period to receive feedback on the proposed members.
In its capacity as an advisory body to the WHO, SAGO will have the following functions:
Among SAGO’s tasks will be:
- Providing the WHO secretariat with an independent evaluation of all available scientific and technical findings from global studies on the origins of SARS-CoV-2
- Advising the WHO secretariat regarding developing, monitoring, and supporting the next series of studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2