IPSN to Detect And Prevent Infectious Disease Threats

Misdiagnosis Crisis in the US: 795,000 Affected Annually,

In a bid to protect people everywhere from infection disease threats, through the power of pathogen genomics, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a new global network named International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN).

The platform would connect countries and regions, improving systems for collecting and analysing samples, using data to drive public health decision-making, and sharing that information more broadly, said WHO.

Pathogen genomics analyzes the genetic code of viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing organisms to understand how infectious they are, how deadly they are, and how they spread.

The IPSN will have a Secretariat hosted by the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, with an ambitious goal, “that can also play a vital role in health security: to give every country access to pathogen genomic sequencing and analytics as part of its public health system,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“As was so clearly demonstrated to us during the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is stronger when it stands together to fight shared health threats”, he said.

By strengthening the pathogen genomic surveillance ecosystem, the IPSN enables faster detection of new pathogens and the enhanced tracking of the spread and evolution of infectious diseases. This in turn can drive better public health responses. The IPSN supports ongoing disease surveillance and will help detect and fully characterize new disease threats before they become epidemics or pandemics.


A world where every country has equitable access to sustained capacity for genomic sequencing and analytics as part of its public health surveillance system.


A world where every country has equitable access to sustained capacity for genomic sequencing and analytics as part of its public health surveillance system.


To achieve its mission, the IPSN encompasses 5 areas of work:

Communities of practice to solve common challenges;

At the heart of the IPSN’s work is a set of communities of practice that enable exchange between partners working on pathogen genomics. The first of these is the IPSN Community of Practice on genomics data. Its projects and deliverables aim to harmonize data standards and protocols, ensure genomics data tools are fit for purpose, and that data and benefits sharing are enhanced.

Country scale-up accelerator to align efforts and enable South-South exchange;

The IPSN has established a Country Scale-Up Accelerator (CSUA) to accelerate and amplify the efforts of IPSN members to rapidly increase country capacity for pathogen genomic surveillance. The CSUA’s projects and deliverables aim to create a set of capacity-building tools as global goods, and to empower increased South-South bilateral and subregional partnerships for capacity development.

Funding to improve equity and to power IPSN projects;

To ensure improved coordination and harmonization of donor efforts, the IPSN has established a funders forum, which works with the Secretariat to support IPSN activities and members including a small grants fund.

High-level advocacy and communications to keep genomic surveillance on the agenda;

With active engagement of countries, partners, regional organizations and WHO, the IPSN keeps pathogen genomic surveillance on the global agenda and ensures strategic buy-in.

Global partners forum for pathogen genomics to bring partners together;

The annual forum brings together key players from all IPSN entities involved in pathogen genomic surveillance, providing a high-profile stage to build partnerships, introduce innovations, socialize  ideas and advocate for political and financial commitments.


The WHO believes that IPSN will result in:

  • Stronger national and international surveillance systems better able to detect and characterize new threats and reduce endemic burdens;
  • Increased harmonization and innovation in pathogen genomics;
  • Increased scale and efficiency of country capacity building efforts; and
  • Increased political attention and financing efficiency.


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