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WHO arm in talks with pvt firms to increase protective equipment capacity amid coronavirus outbreak

Pandemic Supply Chain Network held a teleconference call on Wednesday and said it will assess of the global production for protective equipment against the virus so as to stem the outbreak

NEW DELHI : The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) arm Pandemic Supply Chain Network is in talks with around 350 private companies and 10 multilateral agencies to develop the market capacity for personal protective equipment against the novel coronavirus, according to a statement by the WHO.

The agency held a teleconference call on Wednesday and said it will assess of the global production for protective equipment against the virus so as to stem the outbreak.

“The market and risk assessment for PPE (personal protective equipment) is expected to be completed by 5 February 2020," WHO said.

An email seeking comment from WHO on details the teleconference call were unanswered at the time of publishing.

WHO, in collaboration with World Economic Forum, had set up the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to provide a platform for data sharing, market visibility, and operational co-ordination during a pandemic.

Japan’s NEC Corporation provides visibility of supply chains for pandemic interventions on behalf of the Global Pandemic Supply Chain Network.

WHO is also working on various technological solutions to deal with pandemics and other disease outbreaks.

Earlier this week, the multilateral organization had also launched a clinical database platform to allow countries to contribute clinical data in a standardized way, which will help gather information about patients for guiding medical treatment and public health measures.

The initiatives by the organizations, including the use of technologies, are aimed at having a more concerted effort at dealing with outbreaks and pandemics.

“Globally, there are multiple use-cases of integrating multiple informational sources, including social media crawlers, for early warnings in cases of outbreaks even before the formal surveillance programmes pick it up. It is essential that that global collectives focus on scaling such use cases through a collaborative approach as outbreaks don't respect national boundaries," Abhinav Verma, project lead for an e-health project International Innovation Corps, said.

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