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Tedros Tells the World Economic Forum the WHO Pandemic Treaty Is Needed To Combat “Disease X”

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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has publicly advocated for a global pandemic treaty that has major implications surrounding speech, surveillance, and digital vaccine passports.

He emphasized the importance of international cooperation during a speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, pointing out the potential obstacles posed by an overemphasis on national interests.

Related: WHO Publishes Latest Draft of Pandemic Treaty To Combat “Misinformation”

Tedros took part in a session titled “Disease X” at the forum where he underscored what he believes to be the critical importance of being more prepared for potential future pandemics.

Tedros backed the adoption of the WHO Pandemic Treaty, viewing it as a necessary tool for enhancing our understanding of such diseases.

Addressing the Davos audience, Tedros stated, “This is about a common enemy. Without a shared response, we will face the same problem as COVID.” He identified “Disease X” as a placeholder term that could be used to encompass yet unknown diseases and reiterated the importance of continued research and development for treatments.

Related: World Health Organization gets closer to expanding its surveillance powers through international pandemic treaty

Earlier this week, the WHO worked with the WEF to advocate for the implementation of the Pandemic Treaty. The treaty, backed by the European Union (EU), aims to strengthen global resilience to future pandemics and already has plans to introduce a digital vaccine passport by this Spring.

With a deadline of May 2024, the WHO, along with support from the EU, is working toward a binding agreement among the United Nations member states to facilitate global participation. Tedros remarked, “The importance of a legally binding instrument cannot be overstated: it will be our collective legacy for future generations.”

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