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World Health Organization Public notice of proposed new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) members

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Call for consultation published on the World Health Organization website on October 13th, 2021

After careful consideration of all applications submitted to WHO, the following individuals are proposed for membership of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). They are to serve in their personal capacities to represent the broad range of disciplines relevant to emerging and re-emerging pathogens. In evaluating the applications submitted, consideration was given to attaining an adequate distribution of technical expertise, geographical representation and gender balance.

  1. Mr Phillip Alviola is an Associate Professor at the Animal Biology Division at the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines. He is originally from the Philippines.
  2. Dr Abdullah Assiri is an Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Health at the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia.  He is originally from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  3. Dr Stuart Blacksell is a Professor of Tropical Microbiology at the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. He is originally from Australia.
  4. Dr Inger Damon is the Director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is originally from the United States of America.
  5. Dr Vladimir Dedkov is the Deputy Director for Research at the Pasteur Institute in Russia. He is originally from Russia.
  6. Dr Christian Drosten is a Professor and head of the Institute of Virology at Charité in Germany.  He is originally from Germany.
  7. Dr Elmoubasher Farag is a senior infectious disease epidemiologist and the Head of the Communicable Diseases Control Programs at the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar. He is originally from Sudan.
  8. Dr Thea Fischer is a Professor of virology at the University of Copenhagen and Head of Clinical Research at Nordsjaellands Hospital in Denmark. She is originally from Denmark.
  9. Dr Raman Gangakhedkar is the Dr C.G. Pandit National Chair at the Indian Council of Medical Research in India. He is originally from India.
  10. Dr Nada Ghosn is the head of the Epidemiology Surveillance Program and Medical officer for the Directorate of Prevention at the Ministry of Health, Lebanon. She is originally from Lebanon.
  11. Dr Maria Guzman is the head of the Center for Research, Diagnostic and Reference at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri in Cuba. She is originally from Cuba.
  12. Dr Christian Happi is a Professor and director at the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Ede, Nigeria. He is originally from Cameroon.
  13. Dr Marion Koopmans is a Professor and the head of the department of the Viroscience at Erasmus MC. She is originally from the Netherlands.
  14. Dr Sowath Ly is the Deputy Head of Epidemiology and Public Health Unit at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. He is originally from Cambodia.
  15. Dr Jean-Claude Manuguerra is a research Research Director of the Environment and Infectious Risks Unit, as well as the head for the Emergency Biological Intervention Unit at the Institut Pasteur in France. He is originally from France.
  16. Dr Khin Myint is the head of the Emerging Virus Research Unit at the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is originally from Myanmar.
  17. Dr Carlos M. Morel is the Director at the Center for Technological Development in Health at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and Ministry of Health in Brazil. He is originally from Brazil.
  18. Dr Hung Nguyen-Viet is the co-program leader of Animal and Human Health Program at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya. He is originally from Vietnam.
  19. Dr Chinwe Ochu is the Director of the Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. She is originally from Nigeria.
  20. Dr Masayuki Saijo is the Director of the Medical Planning Department Sapporo City Health and Welfare Bureau in Sapporo, Japan. He is originally from Japan.
  21. Dr Rosemary Sang is an advisor and Chief Research Officer at the Centre for Virus Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya. She is originally from Kenya.
  22. Dr Katharina Summermatter is the head of the Biosafety Center and Managing Director of the Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory at the Institute for Infectious Diseases at the University of Berne in Switzerland. She is originally from Switzerland.
  23. Dr Marietjie Venter is a Professor of the Zoonotic Arbovirus and Respiratory Virus Research Programme at the Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is originally from South Africa.
  24. Dr Supaporn Wacharapluesadee is a researcher at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, The Thai Red Cross Society and a committee member of Chula School of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University. She is originally from Thailand.
  25. Dr John Watson is an Honorary Professor at the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, as well as a Visiting Professor in the Research Department of Infection and Population Health at the University College of London. He is originally from the United Kingdom.
  26. Dr Yungui Yang is the Deputy Director at the Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China. He is originally from China.

Pursuant to WHO’s rules and practices, and in order to enhance WHO’s management of conflicts of interest, as well as strengthen public trust and transparency in connection with WHO advisory groups involving the provision of technical advice, the names and brief biographies of the individuals selected for SAGO Membership are now disclosed for public notice and comment.

Should you wish to comment on any of the individuals, please send your comment to  with subject, “Public comments on SAGO members” by 27 October 2021.

WHO will treat the comments received through this public notice and comment process confidentially. Comments and perceptions brought to the attention of WHO through this process are an integral component of WHO’s conflict of interest assessment policy and will, subject to WHO’s rules, practices, and policies, be carefully reviewed by WHO.

WHO reserves the right to discuss information received through this process with the relevant expert and otherwise within the Organization as appropriate, with no attribution to the provider of the information. WHO, may, in its sole discretion, take appropriate action in accordance with its rules, practices, and policies, based on any information received.