"Online Event: Variants Rattle the World." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 01, 2021. Accessed December 21, 2023.

Photo Credit: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, February 1 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security hosted a timely exchange on the swift global emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their impact on both the domestic and global Covid-19 response. Moderated by Peggy Hamburg, Former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the conversation featured Rochelle Walensky, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); John Brooks, Chief Medical Officer of the CDC’s Covid-19 Task Force; Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 Technical Lead of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme; Oliver Morgan, Director of the WHO Department of Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment; and Loyce Pace, Executive Director of the Global Health Council and member of the Biden-Harris Transition Covid-19 Advisory Group.

One year into the Covid-19 pandemic, world leaders are rattled as several new variants have taken hold in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, and now the United States. Research on new variants is just beginning and the full implications of their emergence remain unclear. But one thing is certain: these variants confer a new competitive edge to the virus and threaten to fundamentally change the pandemic game, at a moment when many countries are facing runaway outbreaks and worsening economic crises.

What is the WHO’s global outlook and how is it responding? How is the Biden administration responding, led by the CDC? And as the United States renews its ties with the WHO, what are the most vital, evolving avenues of collaboration?

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.