Event description

According to the latest Global Health Security report, the world is “dangerously unprepared” for future epidemic and pandemic threats. Notable weaknesses exist in the strength and quality of global laboratory systems, laboratory supply chains, real-time viral surveillance, and reporting capacities. These findings are especially worrying given the rapid inception and spread of new COVID-19 variants.

Every new COVID-19 variant has the potential to increase the virus’s threat to humanity. This is clearly demonstrated by the recent Omicron variant, which is more communicable than previous COVID-19 variants and has caused record infections and lockdowns across the globe, even among populations with high levels of immunization. Despite these consequences, there are still no international frameworks or guiding policies to address the gaps in global variant surveillance and data collection and reporting. Variant surveillance, data collection and reporting, and global cooperation are all critical to determining if emerging mutations are making the virus more contagious, more dangerous, or more resistant to available vaccines. However, issues exist with each of these critical, pandemic-response pillars.

On March 9, 2022 at 10:45 a.m. ET, the GeoTech Center and SICPA will bring together experts from the health industry, government, and civil society to discuss solutions that will help governments address major technological and data gaps plaguing variant identification and tracking:

  • Key policy solutions to increase lab capacity for detection and variant surveillance with a focus on developing economies
  • Proper genomic sequencing protocols
  • Building incentives for data-sharing and building trust for enhanced variant surveillance


Bruce Gellin, M.D., MPH
Chief of Global Public Health Strategy, Pandemic Prevention Institute
Rockefeller Foundation

Heba Mostafa, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D
Director of the Molecular Virology Section, Medical Microbiology Laboratory
John Hopkins Medicine

Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D
Chief Scientific Advisor for Epidemics
European Commission

Jennifer A. Surtees, Ph.D
Co-director, Genome Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence
University at Buffalo


Stephanie Wander
Director of Programs, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council