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WHO opens pandemic early warning system in Berlin

The World Health Organization (WHO) is to open a pandemic early warning centre in Berlin on Wednesday with the aim of combining expertise and tools for coping with future pandemics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is to open a pandemic early warning centre in Berlin on Wednesday with the aim of combining expertise and tools for coping with future pandemics.

The new global WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence “will bring together partners worldwide to collaborate and create the tools and data needed for all countries to prepare, detect and respond to pandemic and epidemic risks,” the WHO said ahead of the event.

The hub will be inaugurated by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Following the devastation caused by the coronavirus outbreak, health experts believe that the outbreak of a new pandemic is only a matter of time. Warning signs have to be systematically monitored with a view to early and strong action, they say.

In May when the decision was taken to establish the centre, Merkel said that “data are a significant basis for the fight against future pandemics.”

“Data that, when combined and processed with the correct analytic tools, can provide insights that we would never find on our own, or at least not as quickly.”

The new centre is to make use of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse large quantities of data, focusing on animal health, unusual human diseases, changes in human behaviour, the effects of climate change and population shifts.

German institutes, including the disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute, and Berlin’s Charite Hospital, are to be closely involved in the project, as well as the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering.

Germany is putting up 30 million euros (35 million dollars) to help fund it.

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