Following a public call for experts, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced proposed members of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). The SAGO will advise 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 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 Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential for preventing future outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential, and requires a broad range of expertise. We are very pleased with the calibre of experts selected for SAGO from around the world, and look forward to working with them to make the world safer.”
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 composition of the SAGO reflects geographic and gender diversity.
As per WHO processes, there will now be a two-week public consultation period for WHO to receive feedback on the proposed SAGO members and set in place the modalities for the SAGO’s first meeting, which is planned to take place following this consultation period.
The final membership to the SAGO is subject to the above-mentioned public consultation period and relevant WHO practices and procedures.