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WHO’S LAUNCH OF ‘CoViNet’ TO MONITOR EMERGING CORONAVIRUSES



  Apr 15, 2024

WHO’S LAUNCH OF ‘CoViNet’ TO MONITOR EMERGING CORONAVIRUSES



What is CoViNet?

CoViNet, the WHO Coronavirus Network, is a newly launched global network of laboratories. Its primary objective is to identify and monitor emerging coronaviruses that could pose a threat to public health in the future. This initiative is an expansion of the WHO COVID-19 reference laboratory network formed in January 2020.

Why was CoViNet established?

The establishment of CoViNet comes in response to the ongoing threat posed by coronaviruses, as evidenced by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. By building on the existing framework developed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, CoViNet aims to enhance global capabilities for the early detection, monitoring, and assessment of coronaviruses, including but not limited to SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV.

What will CoViNet do?

CoViNet will perform several key functions:

• Enhanced Surveillance: Incorporating animal health and environmental monitoring to provide a comprehensive overview of coronavirus threats.

•Risk Assessment: Conducting timely evaluations to inform WHO policies and protective measures.

• Laboratory Support: Aiding in the establishment and enhancement of laboratory capacities, especially in low- and middle-income countries, for monitoring MERS-CoV and other novel coronaviruses of public health significance.

How many laboratories are part of CoViNet, and where are they located?

CoViNet consists of 36 laboratories spread across 21 countries in all six WHO regions. This includes notable contributions from three Indian laboratories: the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology in Pune, and the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute.

What are the future plans for CoViNet?

At a recent meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, representatives from the participating laboratories finalized an action plan for 2024-2025. This plan outlines CoViNet’s strategic response to health challenges posed by novel coronaviruses, emphasizing virus sequencing and data collection to guide global responses, including vaccine development and adjustments based on viral evolution.

How does CoViNet contribute to global health security?

By ensuring timely detection and assessment of coronaviruses, CoViNet plays a crucial role in global health security. It represents a proactive approach to pandemic preparedness, aiming to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks by leveraging international collaboration and advanced scientific capabilities.

What is Disease X, and how is CoViNet related to it?

Disease X represents the WHO’s classification for an unknown pathogen that could cause a future pandemic. COVID-19 was considered the first instance of Disease X, highlighting the unpredictability and potential severity of new diseases. CoViNet’s role in monitoring emerging coronaviruses aligns with the efforts to prepare for and possibly prevent the next “Disease X.”


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