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WHO launches initiative to prepare world for pandemics

  • Published
    28th Apr, 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new initiative to be better prepared for future outbreaks of a similar scale and devastation as the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Aim: The Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats (PRET) Initiative is aimed at providing “guidance on integrated planning for responding to any respiratory pathogen such as influenza or coronaviruses”.
  • Focus on the first module: While the current focus of PRET will be on respiratory viruses — in the backdrop of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, and possible threat of an avian influenza outbreak — work is already underway to assess what should be the next group of pathogens to be mitigated under this initiative.
  • PRET incorporates the latest tools and approaches for shared learning and collective action established during the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent public health emergencies. 

    Key terminology

    • An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease in a particular location.
    • A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease which spreads to and occurs in many different geographic areas at the same time.
    • Endemic diseases are established and circulating regularly in populations. Some endemic diseases such as influenza can have surges in transmission or have epidemics at certain times.
    • A pathogen is an organism which causes a disease to its host, including but not limited to viruses.
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