International community will gather in Brussels to discuss pandemic preparedness

  • Next Tuesday 21 June, the European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI) will host a summit on the continuing pandemic threat posed by respiratory viruses, entitled “Pandemic Preparedness: Where Science and Policy Meet”.

  • Experts from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the EU’s new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response unit (HERA), the African Union (AU) and other institutions will participate in a discussion aimed at formulating a set of recommendations on predicting, planning, and responding to future pandemics. 

Brussels, 17 June 2022 –  On Tuesday 21 June, the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI), a group of scientific experts in infectious respiratory disease, is organising a respiratory virus summit, entitled “Pandemic Preparedness: Where Science and Policy Meet”. The discussion, to be held in the heart of EU headquarters in Brussels, will be in hybrid format with participants able to engage with speakers and panellists both online and present in the meeting room.

The scientific and policymaking communities will discuss a wide range of themes including early warning systems, diagnostic platforms, pathogen discovery, mathematical models of epidemics, clinical trial platforms, non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies, pharmaceutical intervention and treatment strategies, public communication, and global cooperation.

The ESWI Summit 2022 will be co-chaired by the Chair of ESWI, Prof. Ab Osterhaus, of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover; Prof. Colin Russell of the University of Amsterdam, an ESWI Board Member; and Debora MacKenzie, a science journalist specialising in infectious disease. 

The seven keynote lectures in the morning session will include “The role of WHO in Pandemic Preparedness Planning” by Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the WHO; “Future preparedness for newly emerging infectious diseases” by Prof. Zhengli Shi, of the Wuhan Institute of Virology; and “The role of scientists in advising policymakers in a pandemic, what do we do now? How do we make it work?” by Prof. David Fisman, of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. 

An expert panel will add their views on preparedness in the afternoon, including Dr. Wolfgang Philipp, the acting director of the European Commission’s new DG Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

“With HERA, we will be able to anticipate threats and to coordinate our actions to respond to future health threats,” said Dr. Philipp. “I am very much looking forward to listening to a full day of discussions on pandemic preparedness bringing together global science, industry, and public authorities here in Brussels.” 

This will be followed by a stakeholder debate with all panellists, keynote speakers and participants, which will feed into the development of a set of recommendations on pandemic preparedness to be proposed at the end of the afternoon. 

The ESWI Summit 2022 will take place on Tuesday 21 June, from 9h00 (CET) to 17h30 (CET) followed by a cocktail reception until 19h00 (CET). The venue is Résidence Palace : Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Bruxelles. 


Goretti Cortina, Media and Press Relations, ESWI Secretariat, [email protected]