The coronavirus pandemic was the catalyst for the hub, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the W.H.O., said at a news conference Wednesday after an inauguration ceremony in Berlin that included Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany among the dignitaries.
“Even as we respond to the pandemic, we must learn the lessons it’s teaching us,” Dr. Tedros said. “One of the most clear is the need for new powerful systems and tools for global surveillance to collect, analyze and disseminate data on outbreaks with the potential to become epidemics and pandemics. Viruses must move fast, but data can move even faster.”
The German government is initially funding the effort, and Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, director general of Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control, will lead it. The hub falls under the W.H.O.’s Health Emergencies Program, run by Dr. Michael Ryan.
Dr. Ryan said that the deeply interlinked nature of the modern world, which can allow a novel disease — and misinformation — to spread around the globe with astonishing speed, could help battle pathogens if nations work together.
“That interconnectedness is also our greatest strength,” he said.