SAGO: WHO Extends Application Deadline


WHO is reopening nominations for qualified candidate into the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), by three days, to attract and encourage new female qualified candidates from the African and South East Asian WHO regions. The extension opens from Monday 27- 29 September.

The Scientific Advisory Group is a proactive measure being put in place by WHO to identify and prepare for novel pathogens early and to address the risk factors that contribute to their emergence and spread. WHO states that the rapid emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 has highlighted the importance of being prepared for any future event.

Increasing number of high threat pathogens like SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Nipah, avian influenza and the latest SARS-CoV-2,  emerging and re-emerging in recent years, not only make robust surveillance and early actions for rapid detection and mitigation efforts necessary,  but also call for a robust and systematic processes to establish the study around the emergence of these pathogens and routes of transmission from their natural reservoirs to humans.

To this end, the Director-General has established the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens. SAGO, an advisory body of experts, will advise the WHO Secretariat on technical and scientific considerations regarding emerging and re-emerging pathogens in a personal capacity.  SAGO is established in accordance with the WHO Regulations for Study and Scientific Groups, Collaborating Institutions and Other Mechanisms of Collaboration.

 SAGO Functions

In its capacity as an advisory body to WHO, the SAGO will have the following functions:

  1. To advise WHO on the development of a WHO global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential;
  2. To advise WHO on prioritizing studies and field investigations into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, in accordance with the WHO global framework described in point (1) above;
  3. To provide information and views to assist the WHO Secretariat in the development of a detailed work plan of the SAGO;
  4. In the context of SARS-CoV-2 origins:
    • To provide the WHO Secretariat with an independent evaluation of all available scientific and technical findings from global studies on the origins of SARS-CoV-2;
    • To advise the WHO Secretariat regarding developing, monitoring and supporting the next series of studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, including rapid advice on WHO’s operational plans to implement the next series of global studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, as outlined in the Joint WHO-China Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2:China Part report published on 30 March 2021 and advise on additional studies as needed; and
  5. To provide additional advice and support to WHO, as requested by the WHO SAGO Secretariat, which may include participation in future WHO-international missions to study the origins of SARS-CoV-2 or for other emerging pathogens.

Operations of the SAGO

The SAGO shall meet regularly. The first meeting will be held in October 2021. SAGO meetings may be held in person or virtually (at WHO headquarters in Geneva or another location, as determined by WHO), via video or teleconference. SAGO meetings may be held in open and/or closed session, as decided by the Chairperson in consultation with WHO. The working language of the group will be English.

Sub Group

The SAGO may decide to establish smaller working groups (sub-groups of the SAGO) to work on specific issues. SAGO members are expected to attend meetings. Reports of each meeting shall be submitted by the SAGO to the WHO Director-General. All recommendations from the SAGO are advisory to WHO, who retains full control over any subsequent decisions or actions regarding any proposals, policy issues or other matters considered by the SAGO. The SAGO shall normally make recommendations by consensus.

WHO group

Who can express interest?

The SAGO will be multidisciplinary, with members who have a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to emerging and re-emerging pathogens. Up to 25 experts may be selected.

WHO welcomes expressions of interest from individuals with significant expertise in one or more of the following technical disciplines in order to ensure a One Health approach:

  • infectious disease epidemiology and conducting epidemiological studies;
  • field research;
  • virology;
  • ecology;
  • molecular epidemiology;
  • sero-epidemiology;
  • medicine;
  • bioinformatics;
  • outbreak analytics;
  • health statistics;
  • microbiology;
  • veterinary medicine;
  • food safety;
  • bacteriology;
  • environmental science;
  • biosafety;
  • biosecurity;
  • occupational health and safety;
  • laboratory safety and security;
  • ethics and social sciences;
  • or other activities related to the emergence or re-emergence of pathogens of pandemic potential.

 How to express interest

To register your interest in being considered for the SAGO, please submit the following documents by 29 September 2021 24:00 CET to using the subject line “Expression of interest for the SAGO”:

  • A cover letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you satisfy the selection criteria (maximum 500 words). Please note that, if selected, membership will be in a personal capacity. Therefore do not use the letterhead or other identification of your employer);
  • Your curriculum vitae; and

A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO Experts, available at


Source: WHO

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