April 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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WHO LAUNCHES CoViNet: A GLOBAL INITIATIVE TO MONITOR EMERGING CORONAVIRUSES

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TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

THE CONTEXT: The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a significant global effort named CoViNet, aimed at monitoring and identifying potentially novel coronaviruses.

EXPLANATION:

  • This initiative builds upon the foundation laid by the COVID-19 reference laboratory network established during the early stages of the pandemic.
  • CoViNet represents a proactive approach to tackle the ongoing and future threats posed by coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and potential new variants.

CoViNet:

  • CoViNet is a global laboratory network established by WHO to identify and monitor emerging coronaviruses.
  • It expands the focus beyond SARS-CoV-2 to include other coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV, enhancing laboratory capacity worldwide.
  • The network aims to provide timely detection, monitoring, and assessment of coronaviruses with public health significance.

Foundation and Collaboration:

  • CoViNet builds upon the collaboration established through the WHO COVID-19 reference laboratory network, initiated in January 2020.
  • The expansion of this network underscores the evolving nature of global health threats and the need for proactive surveillance and response mechanisms.

Objectives and Activities:

  • CoViNet will incorporate animal health and environmental surveillance alongside laboratory-based monitoring.
  • It will facilitate timely risk assessment to inform WHO policies and protective measures.
  • Focus on supporting the building of additional laboratories in low- and middle-income countries to enhance surveillance capabilities.

Global Reach and Participation:

  • CoViNet comprises 36 laboratories from 21 countries across all six WHO regions, including prominent Indian laboratories.
  • Representatives from these laboratories convened in Geneva, Switzerland, to finalize an action plan for 2024-2025.
  • The global participation underscores the collaborative efforts required to address emerging health threats on a worldwide scale.

Importance of Surveillance and Response:

  • The initiative recognizes the recurrent epidemic and pandemic risks posed by coronaviruses.
  • Enhanced surveillance and response mechanisms are crucial for early detection and containment of potential outbreaks.
  • CoViNet aligns with WHO’s broader efforts to strengthen global health security and pandemic preparedness.

Implications for Future Pandemic Preparedness:

  • The emergence of COVID-19 highlighted the need for proactive measures to address novel disease threats.
  • WHO’s emphasis on monitoring novel coronaviruses reflects the recognition of ‘Disease X,’ an unknown disease anticipated to be of unprecedented magnitude.
  • CoViNet’s activities, including virus sequencing and data analysis, will inform response strategies and vaccine development efforts.

World Health Organisation:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO), established in 1948, is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • It connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health.
  • Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
  • It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.

SOURCE: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/health/who-launches-covinet-a-global-laboratory-to-monitor-emerging-coronaviruses-95277

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