The UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security

COHR is playing a key coordinating role in the development of the University of Washington MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security.

The MetaCenter aims to prevent and limit the extent of infectious disease epidemics and thereby save lives. We are fostering a bold, comprehensive and integrated systems approach spearheaded by top scientists and practitioners across disciplines that focuses on improving readiness before epidemics hit.

The MetaCenter’s approach involves leveraging the power of “big data” and cutting-edge genomic and other molecular technologies.

To assess vulnerability to emerging disease threats across the globe, the MetaCenter effort is using fine-scale geospatial data sets to indicate where cases of a disease can appear, and then integrate this information with data on where the health care system in a particular country can be most vulnerable to having the disease occurrence turn into an outbreak.

We are also using weather data sets to determine how weather events will worsen an outbreak. This will allow health planners and disease experts to more precisely target efforts to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats.

To design better vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tests for new and known infectious diseases, MetaCenter scientists are studying the genetics of the pathogen as well as the immune response of the infected person to find more precise ways to interrupt the infection process.

UW capacity to build capacity of health systems around the world is playing a role in the Metacenter by developing new approaches to training public health professionals, medical providers and other key individuals in how to prepare for new disease outbreaks.

Dr. Rabinowitz from the Center for One Health Research is serving as the acting director of the UW MetaCenter effort, helping form coalitions across and outside of the University in this collaboration.

COHR is also helping the MetaCenter pioneer integrated approaches to emerging infectious diseases that involve simultaneously assessing the health of humans, animals and the environment in the setting of a disease outbreak.