Milken Institute Outlines Next Steps for Mobilizing an Early Warning System for Pandemics

Recognizing the most effective way to combat the next pandemic is to start planning for it now, FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, released key considerations and next steps for mobilizing an early warning system for global pandemic threats. “A Global Early Warning System for Pandemics: A Blueprint for Coordination” outlines governance, data, financing, and incentive considerations for creating an early warning system.

Global health experts from academia, finance, nonprofit, philanthropy, drug and diagnostic development, and technology sectors contributed to the report, which builds on the vision for an early warning system as outlined in FasterCures’ June 2021 release, “A Global Early Warning System for Pandemics: Mobilizing Surveillance for Emerging Pathogens.”

The report highlights immediate next steps for mobilizing an early warning system and acknowledges that areas remain for ongoing deliberation. “We must continue to take advantage of this moment to forge collaborations, foster innovation, and mobilize the parts of an early warning system that we know will work,” said Esther Krofah, MPP, Executive Director of FasterCures and the Center for Public Health. “We can’t let perfection stand in the way of progress. Early warning capabilities must be an integral component of pandemic prevention strategies.”

Among the report’s recommendations is for an early warning system to be structured as a coordination of networks and disease surveillance players. “Collaboration, coordination and transparency are critical to establishing an effective global early warning system,” said Rick Bright, PhD, CEO of the Pandemic Prevention Institute and Senior Vice President of Pandemic Prevention and Response at The Rockefeller Foundation. “There are many active surveillance systems in use around the world — there is an urgent need to connect them while building a local knowledge economy to empower people in every country to have access to the best information at the same time.”

Further supporting the power of collaboration, Phil Febbo, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Illumina, said: “Genomic sequencing technologies can help the world prevent future pandemics. High quality, timely data is essential to predicting risk and informing critical public health decisions.”

The report also highlights the value of having a sustainable system through real-time data collection and reporting, funding, partnerships, and participation. Former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Oyewale Tomori, DVM, PhD, FAS, NNOM, NAM, backed this sentiment in saying: “A sustained early warning system is key to adequate preparedness and the prevention of future disease outbreaks. Through sustained partnerships, funding, and drive to halt outbreaks early in their tracks, the system will be effective in instituting a robust and nimble response to future pandemics.”

“A Global Early Warning System for Pandemics: A Blueprint for Coordination” is co-authored by Esther Krofah, Sung Hee Choe, Alisha Sud, and Anna DeGarmo. The full report can be accessed here.

About FasterCures

FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is working to build a system that is effective, efficient, and driven by a clear vision: patient needs above all else. We believe that transformative and life-saving science should be fully realized and deliver better treatments to the people who need them. For more information, visit

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that helps people build meaningful lives in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities. For more information, visit

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