Countries in the Region of the Americas coordinate and strengthen their capacities to respond to respiratory viruses with epidemic and pandemic potential


Antigua Guatemala, May 17, 2023. With the participation of more than 100 representatives of surveillance, laboratories, and immunization programs of the Ministries of Health of 27 countries, the VIII Regional Meeting of SARInet plus/REVELAC-i was held from May 15 to 17. The objectives of the meeting included promoting cooperation and exchange of knowledge on influenza and other respiratory viruses with epidemic and pandemic potential among the countries of the Region of the Americas. 

This meeting, organized each year as part of the SARInet plus and REVELAC-i network, was coordinated by the Infectious Threat Management Unit of the Health Emergencies Department (PHE/IHM) and the Special Program Comprehensive Immunization (CIM) of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). This meeting sought to strengthen surveillance, laboratory, prevention and control and health emergency management capacities in the countries, as well as to promote the sustainability of the integration and analysis of epidemiological and laboratory surveillance data on influenza and other respiratory viruses with epidemic and pandemic potential.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss topics such as potential threats in the context of respiratory diseases: what we know and what we don't know; vaccination against seasonal influenza and other respiratory viruses in the Americas; pandemic preparedness planning checklist, among others. 

In addition, the countries shared their experiences on how to evaluate the effectiveness of influenza vaccines and COVID-19.

"This meeting allowed us to coordinate and discuss the best way to maximize available resources, avoid duplication of efforts, and have an integrated approach that will optimize existing capacities in planning and coordination, risk communication, health interventions, and maintain the specific and necessary elements for each pathogen," explains Francisco Nogareda of PAHO's Special Program Comprehensive Immunization. 

The REVELAC-i Network created in 2013 and SARInet in 2014, have been key in the scientific research of different viral infections (such as influenza) and in monitoring the performance of influenza vaccines. It currently includes members from countries in the Americas such as Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Learn more about the work of the SARInet plus Network and REVELAC-i.