Meeting of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards, June 2021: conclusions/Reunion du Groupe consultatif strategique et technique de l'OMS sur les risques infectieux, juin 2021: conclusions.

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Date: Sept. 17, 2021
From: Weekly Epidemiological Record(Vol. 96, Issue 37)
Publisher: World Health Organization
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,185 words
Lexile Measure: 1880L

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Introduction

The Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards (STAG-IH) provides independent advice to the WHO Health Emergencies programme (WHE) on infectious hazards that may pose a threat to global health security. The STAG-IH, a multi-disciplinary group of external experts, reviews information about new and emerging infectious diseases and outbreaks and advises WHO on priorities for strategies, activities and partnerships to respond to infectious hazards. The WHE convened the mid-year meeting of the STAG-IH for 2021, which was held remotely, on 14 June 2021. This report summarizes the discussions and priorities of the Group.

STAG-IH: the first 5 years

The STAG-IH secretariat described the evolution of the group since its beginnings in 2016 as a proposed "standing advisory committee" (1) to its current 15-member group of multidisciplinary experts. Since its formation, the group has discussed strategic and technical issues; published recommendations on several infectious hazards, including Ebola virus disease (EVD), meningitis and arbovirus, on eliminating yellow fever and on epidemic preparedness; issued technical reviews of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to trigger release of funds; and endorsed WHO risk assessments. To strengthen engagement and interaction, STAG-IH members have served as chairs, members, participants or observers on other WHO technical and scientific advisory groups under WHE. (2) In addition, the STAG-IH has welcomed members of other advisory groups for knowledge exchange and discussion. These groups include the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, the R&D Blueprint Scientific Advisory Group, the Health Security Interface Technical Advisory Group, the Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research, Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response, emergency medical teams, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control and the Expanded Programme on Immunization.

Recent activities

The STAG-IH has met remotely 70 times since 10 January 2020 to support and advise the WHO on its response and policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (3) The Group has provided views and advice on translating science into policy and specific views on critical public health policies, including wearing of masks by the public, the importance of contact tracing, testing strategies, immunity passports and re-opening international travel. STAG-IH perspectives on these topics can be found on the WHO website (4) or in The Lancet. (5-7) The STAG-IH also contributed to the work of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, (8) the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee (IOAC) (9) the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) (10) and the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) Review Committee (IHR-RC). (11) Since January 2021, the STAG-IH has continued to advise on COVID-19 topics, including discussions on variants of concern and their impacts on public health, vaccine and international travel strategies. The group has also supported various initiatives, including Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, vaccine communication strategies and adjustment of public health and social measures during introduction of vaccination. Further, the group has discussed the use of diagnostics in the context of international travel and digital tools for contact tracing and received information on the expert mission to China. The group nominated 5 STAG-IH members to...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A677542596