German Chancellor Angela Merkel and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adnorm Gebrejesus formally opened the International Epidemiological and Epidemiological Information Center in Berlin on Wednesday. The center aims to bring together world resources. Responding to future global health emergencies.
The center originally announced in May that it would become an organization that collects health data from all over the world. Equipped with a supercomputer, it will collect, analyze and disseminate information from international government, academic and private sector institutions.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Merkel told reporters that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown “what the world can do when we truly unite. Experts from all over the world have been expanding their knowledge and sharing at an incredible rate. They are used to decode the coronavirus.”
Tedros said in his comments that the center will bring together scientists, innovators, policy makers and civil society representatives to work across national borders and disciplines. It will utilize the latest innovations in cutting-edge technologies such as data science, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing,
“No single institution or country can do this alone. That’s why we coined the term “collaborative intelligence” to summarize our collective mission,” Tedros said.
He also used the briefing to provide updates on the pandemic and pointed out that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported to WHO last week had fallen for the first time in more than two months. But he said that when many countries are still increasing sharply, the decline in the number of cases and deaths does not mean much.
He also stated that there are still alarming inequalities in access to vaccines, with 75% of the 5 billion vaccine doses vaccinated globally only in 10 countries. He said that in low-income countries—most of which are in Africa—less than 2% of adults are fully vaccinated, while in high-income countries, the proportion is close to 50%.
The head of the WHO reiterated that he called for a global suspension of booster injections until at least the end of September, so that the countries that lag the farthest can catch up.
Part of the information in this report comes from the Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP.