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Disease X Exercise to Prepare for Next Pandemic
  • Date2022-12-01 17:07
  • Update2022-12-01 17:07
  • Division중앙방역대책본부 위기소통팀
  • Tel043-719-9339

Disease X Exercise to Prepare for Next Pandemic

Participants from 25 countries and 5 international organizations suggested response directions against challenges from an emerging infectious disease. Discussion results from the tabletop exercise are expected to enhance national response capacity, leading to a stronger global health security.

Osong, 30th November 2022 – The Disease X Exercise (a tabletop exercise), a major event of the 7th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting, was held on 29th November in Grand Hyatt Seoul. This simulation exercise was attended by approximately 100 ministers, delegates, and experts from 26 countries, 3 permanent advisors (i.e. the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the World Organization for Animal Health), and 2 non-governmental organizations (i.e. the Asian-Europe Foundation and the International Vaccine Institute).

In the tabletop exercise, organized by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the participants discussed and evaluated the directions of response to the outbreaks of a fictional emerging infectious disease as a country of the origin, a neighbouring country, or a member of the global community.

The simulation exercise, held in closed session, was led by Jim Hayslett, a former medical epidemiologist of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States of America and a former CDC liaison officer to the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of Korea. The participants was divided into nine groups according to continents, regions, and the gross domestic product (GDP). A Certified Professional Facilitator of the International Association of Facilitators was placed to ensure a smooth operation of the exercise.

Under a fictional situation of the outbreak of an unknown infectious disease, the participants reviewed and discussed response measures and collaboration methods in terms of earlier recognition, response during an initial stage of an infection spread, prevention of viral transmission, and prevention of infection.

Specifically, such areas for discussion included the following: (a) preparations for earlier recognition and diagnostic testing of an emerging infectious disease, (b) response measures against diverse situations of crisis, as well as considerations for non-pharmaceutical interventions, (c) cooperation methods among countries for infectious disease control, as well as for minimization of socioeconomic damage, (d) priorities for equitable distribution and delivery of vaccines and treatments, and (e) what should be encouraged to accelerate the development of vaccines and treatments and to make joint response.

Against such challenges, the participants suggested response directions as in the following: transparent sharing of information among countries, establishment of an infectious disease surveillance system, strengthening of laboratory testing capacity through a private-public partnership, rules and support (e.g. isolation and social distancing) based on the public’s trust for the government, coordination of infectious disease response measures among countries, measures to address challenges of collaboration among countries, and vaccine development through collaboration among countries.

KDCA Commissioner Peck Kyong Ran said: “The Disease X Exercise can become a foundation for global health security. No matter what type of an emerging infectious disease occurs, and no matter anywhere in the world such an infectious disease occurs, joint response based on global solidarity and collaboration is important. This tabletop exercise carries great significance in that this recognition has been shared among the GHSA members.”

Commissioner Peck added: “I expect that what have been discussed in the simulation exercise will be taken into account, when countries establish their strategies for national capacity building aimed to strengthen global health security. We will also review the ways to turn such discussion results into action.”

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