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The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a global scientific process to update the list of priority pathogens that can cause outbreaks or pandemics, according to the news agency ANI.

In an official statement, the WHO also said that these pathogens can guide global investment, research and development (R&D), especially in vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Starting with a meeting held on November 18, the WHO is convening more than 300 scientists who will consider the evidence on over 25 virus families and bacteria, as well as 'Disease X', the statement read.

It said that the experts will recommend a list of priority pathogens that need further research. This process will include both scientific and public health criteria, as per ANI reports.

The current list, which was published in 2017, includes Covid-19, Crimean-Cong hemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, Zika, and Disease X.

Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program said, "Targeting priority pathogens and virus families for research and development of countermeasures is essential for a fast and effective epidemic and pandemic response. Without significant R&D investments prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it would not have been possible to have safe and effective vaccines developed in record time."

"This list of priority pathogens has become a reference point for the research community on where to focus energies to manage the next threat," said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist, as quoted by ANI. 

She added, "It is developed together with experts in the field, and is the agreed direction for where we--as a global research community--need to invest energy and funds to develop tests, treatments and vaccines. We thank our donors like the US government, our partners, and the scientists who work with WHO to make this possible."

 

(With ANI inputs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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