The World Health Organisation (WHO) and government leaders have called for new legislation to signal ‘high-level political action’ to ensure greater preparation in future pandemics after COVID-19.

A commentary published by the WHO and signed by 25 world and government leaders on 30 March states that the goal of the ‘pandemic preparedness’ treaty “would be to foster an all-of-government and all-of-society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics.”

Dr Benji Pretorius, Erada founder and GP, commented: “It is hugely encouraging to see such a proactive response from the world’s leaders in combating future pandemics and I am completely behind the proposed treaty. COVID-19 has revealed that we need to be better prepared and equipped to cope with pandemics moving forwards, through earlier detection and frontline prevention.

“There will continue to be pandemics – we are already seeing a surge in TB cases and malaria continues to take hundreds of thousands of lives. But COVID-19 in particular has revealed weaknesses in our preparation for these mass outbreaks which must be addressed. Sharing expertise, data, and the deployment of tests and other prevention methods needs to be coordinated and efficient so that we do not see a repeat of the devasting effects COVID-19 caused.”

Dr Pretorius founded Erada having survived his own battle with malaria. Alongside research conducted at the University of Florida and funding obtained by worldwide organisations, Erada is advancing the development of its Salva! saliva-based RDT, with the hope that field trials can commence later this year.

Further details about the WHO pandemic treaty is available here.

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