Preparing for and responding to future pandemics: Ukraine strengthens global cooperation with international partners
Strengthening the capacity of healthcare systems, including training and education of healthcare professionals, strengthening the systems of diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases among the population. The innovative potential of the pharmaceutical business in the development and manufacture of vaccines and diagnostic products at the country level will strengthen the world’s resilience to the challenges of future pandemics. This is the conclusion reached by the participants of the second Global Bio Summit 2023, which is held annually in Seoul, South Korea. This year, about two hundred representatives of governments, international organizations and the scientific community presented strategies and policies of their countries and provided proposals for the development of a global strategy to strengthen pandemic response capacity.
“Each country has learned lessons about its healthcare systems and the importance of international cooperation and sharing of data, technology, and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is impossible to predict exactly where and when the next pandemic will start, but the interval between new infections is rapidly decreasing. Currently, according to WHO estimates, the main threats are zoonoses (diseases transmitted by animals) and respiratory infections (mutations and new strains of COVID-19 and influenza). The basic strategy in Ukraine and the world, which is constantly being modernized, is the One Health approach. When health care systems are focused and take into account risks to humans, animals and the environment and begin to develop together, regularly exchange information and respond in sync to threats. Within the framework of global cooperation, the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic should become the basis for policies and strategies for preparing and responding to future pandemics,” said Deputy Minister, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin during the Global Bio Summit in Seoul.
In particular, it is about preventing threats at the level of data collection and analysis, prevention and global coordination in the creation and provision of vaccines, and the exchange of treatment standards to effectively combat epidemiological threats (epidemics, pandemics, and health emergencies).
Global cooperation provides countries with increased opportunities for vaccine production and development at the governmental, corporate and international levels. Summit participants also discussed ways to develop regional vaccine production and development hubs. This will be crucial to delay the spread of emerging infectious diseases, and consolidated international cooperation is needed to support their implementation. In particular, therapeutic agents, such as antivirals and vaccines, can protect against a wide range of pathogens and thus have the potential to be used from day zero of an outbreak until other medical countermeasures are available.
The Summit on Strengthening Capacities for Pandemic Response, organized by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare and the World Health Organization, brought together representatives of academia, policy, the private sector, and international organizations to discuss solutions for building pandemic preparedness and response systems. The event provided a productive exchange of views with stakeholders from across the global health security architecture.
The Global Bio Summit 2023 was attended by international organizations that have played a key role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of vaccines and biotechnology (Asian Development Bank (ADB)), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), and the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), which serve as partner organizations and support the collective research effort to build a global clinical trial network.
According to WHO plans, in 2024, 194 member states of the organization should adopt the International Pandemic Prevention and Preparedness Agreement. The document defines the goals and principles for fighting the pandemic. In particular, it is discussed that member states will monitor and exchange data to detect a new disease in time and develop a joint response plan. Preparing for and preventing health emergencies is one of the WHO’s tasks.