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Cuban doctor María Guadalupe Guzmán was included in the new Scientific Advisory Group of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the Origin of New Pathogens.
Along with 25 other experts, Guzman, a specialist in science and director of Research, Diagnosis, and Reference of the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK), will have the mission to continue investigating how the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of COVID-19 and other diseases, emerged.
The SAGO team, an acronym for the WHO group, is composed of virologists, epidemiologists and other experts from Brazil, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, China and Japan, as well as doctors from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Denmark, India, Cameroon, Cambodia and other countries.
The WHO statement said that the experts must 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 achieving an appropriate distribution of expertise, geographical representation, and gender balance," the text points out.
Many of these scientists work at institutions such as the University of Oxford, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pasteur Institute in Iran, or the Brazilian Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, according to the list provided by the WHO.
The committee has been formed, among other activities, to search for the origin of the coronavirus causing the current pandemic, for which a mission of experts from the organization and others already traveled to China in February of this year.
Qué honor para #Cuba tener una científica como María Guadalupe Guzmán, una de las galardonadas con el Premio L'Oréal-Unesco a Mujeres en Ciencia. Felicidades, profesora, sus palabras la distinguen: "Este premio es también a la Revolución cubana..."https://t.co/Gn6zB2M6ZL
"Understanding where pathogens like these come from is essential to avoid future outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. They predicted that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus would not be the last to emerge.
Dr. María Guadalupe Guzmán was recently recognized with the UNESCO Women and Science Award in its 2022 edition for her research on dengue.
According to the UN organization, which focuses on education, science and culture, Guzman stands out for her pioneering work to better understand dengue, a disease present mainly in intertropical areas, which infects between 50 and 100 million people worldwide every year.
Guzmán was one of the five winners by geographic region in the 24th edition of this award, granted jointly with the French company L'Oréal.