Abbott forms ‘eyes on the ground’ coalition to monitor future pandemic threats

US healthcare major Abbott has formed an international “pandemic defense coalition” for early detection and rapid response to future pandemic threats. And this “first of its kind” global scientific and public health partnership that includes YRG Care of Chennai.

“By connecting global centers of excellence in laboratory testing, gene sequencing and public health research, the program will identify new pathogens, analyze the level of potential risk, rapidly develop and deploy new diagnostic tests and will assess the impact on public health in real time, ”the company said.

The announcement comes on the day that marks a year since the World Health Organization called Covid-19 a pandemic, and the scientific world has warned that it certainly won’t be the last.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for advanced surveillance and viral sequencing – and the crucial role of testing. Understanding what pathogenic threats are emerging will help us test, diagnose and hopefully help prevent the next pandemic, ”said Gavin Cloherty, head of infectious disease research at Abbott.

“We cannot fight what we cannot see coming. This program establishes a global network of ‘eyes on the ground’ that are always on the lookout for threats, helping the global health community stay ahead of the next viral threat and enabling us to ” use Abbott’s expertise and technology to rapidly develop tests. to answer them, ”he said.

The sequences of the viruses found will be published in a public database so that health officials and laboratories can work together to identify whether it is a new strain or a virus that has already been detected, explains the note.

Virus hunting

Abbott has been chasing the virus for about three decades now, and the latest program is expanding that surveillance. The company is currently helping to monitor new variants or mutations of the virus that causes Covid-19. It collects virus samples from around the world and looks for mutations, the company said.

Recently, the company announced the discovery of a high prevalence of HIV controllers – a group of people living with controlled HIV without antiretroviral drugs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which may hold the key to a cure. Abbott also announced the discovery of a new strain of HIV in 2019.

Abbott’s “eyes on the ground” partners include: Colombia / Wisconsin One-Health Consortium at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Thailand School of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University; The Senegalese Health Research Institute; KRISP of South Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal Genome Center; US Rush University Health System; The University of the West Indies of Jamaica; Universidade de So Paulo in Brazil and YRG Care in India.

Dr Sunil Suhas Solomon, President of YRG Care, said: “If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that borders and countries only exist on maps. Viruses and pathogens transcend all of these artificial boundaries, underscoring the need for a global network to monitor emerging and re-emerging threats. YRG Care has an existing collaboration with Abbott regarding HIV and viral hepatitis among vulnerable Indian populations.