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WHO Launches CoViNet to Strengthen Global Coronavirus Surveillance

Written by : Jayati Dubey

April 1, 2024

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CoViNet builds on the WHO Covid-19 reference laboratory network, initially established during the pandemic's early stages to focus on SARS-CoV-2.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled a new initiative called CoViNet. It is aimed at enhancing global capabilities for the detection, monitoring, and assessment of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and emerging strains of public health significance.

Comprising 36 laboratories from 21 countries across all six WHO regions, CoViNet brings together experts in human, animal, and environmental health surveillance.

This collaborative effort underscores the One Health approach, recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health in addressing emerging infectious diseases.

Reference Laboratory Network

CoViNet expands upon the foundation laid by the WHO COVID-19 reference laboratory network, originally established during the early stages of the pandemic to focus on SARS-CoV-2.

However, the new network will broaden its scope to include a wider range of coronaviruses, reflecting the evolving landscape of infectious disease threats.

During a recent meeting in Geneva, representatives of the participating laboratories convened to finalize an action plan for 2024-2025.

The plan aims to equip WHO Member States with enhanced capabilities for early detection, risk assessment, and response to coronavirus-related health challenges.

Comprehensive Surveillance

CoViNet emphasizes the importance of comprehensive surveillance, laboratory capacity, sequencing, and data integration in monitoring and assessing coronavirus evolution and spread.

The network aims to inform WHO policies and support decision-making at all levels by leveraging global expertise and resources.

Sharing thoughts, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, acting director, WHO's Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention, said, "Coronaviruses have time and again demonstrated their epidemic and pandemic risk. We thank our partners from around the world who are working to better understand high threat coronaviruses like SARS, MERS, and Covid-19 and to detect novel coronaviruses. This new global network for coronaviruses will ensure timely detection, monitoring, and assessment of coronaviruses of public health importance."

Data generated through CoViNet's efforts will inform the work of WHO's Technical Advisory Groups on Viral Evolution (TAG-VE) and Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC), among others.

By providing the latest scientific information, CoViNet will support the development of evidence-based global health policies and tools to combat the ongoing and future threats posed by coronaviruses.

The launch of CoViNet promises a significant step forward in global efforts to combat coronaviruses and mitigate their public health impact.

By fostering collaboration, sharing expertise, and leveraging advanced surveillance techniques, the network aims to enhance preparedness and response capabilities worldwide.

As the world continues to grapple with the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases, initiatives such as CoViNet offer hope for a more resilient and coordinated global health response.

In another recent development, WHO unveiled new recommendations on the utilization of targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) tests for the diagnosis of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in its latest edition of the Consolidated Guidelines on Tuberculosis.

This latest module, titled Module 3: Diagnosis, focuses on rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis detection and offers a fresh perspective on the swift identification of drug resistance using state-of-the-art technologies.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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