The European Union opened on Thursday a new authority to prevent and rapidly respond to health emergencies based on the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis.
The European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) will detect health crises and other potential threats for the healthcare system by gathering information and developing forecasts.
The EU body will be also responsible for building up capacities and ensuring the delivery of medicines, vaccines, or other medical equipment in case of health emergencies.
HERA will support scientific research and innovation in the medical field, and will coordinate with the pharma industry to prevent supply shortages.
The authority was granted a €6 billion ($7 billion) budget for the period of 2022-27.
HERA is expected to operate at full capacity as of next summer.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised to set up an EU body to prevent health crisis during her State of the Union speech last September when she drew lessons from the coronavirus crisis.
In the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, EU countries had to face shortages of medical supplies, including masks, gloves, ventilators, and certain drugs.