Northeastern University will act as a national weather center for viruses thanks to a $17.5 million infusion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The center, called EPISTORM, will lead a group of 10 research institutions, health care systems and private entities to monitor and predict when viruses surge.
EPISTORM will be led by Alessandro Vespignani, the director of Northeastern’s Network Science Institute.
Speaking on Greater Boston, Vespignani said the center will provide crucial and actionable intelligence on viruses so doctors and nurses can prepare.
With the winter season ahead, Vespignani said tracking information on COVID-19, RSV and influenza will be important.
"We want to know weeks in advance what we should do and what is the level of the threat. And to do that, we need something that is like the national weather forecast center," Vespignani said.
The center won't just be looking at viruses in the United States.
"We need to be ready for something that is not necessarily in our country, we need to be prepare for threats that could come from any other different place," Vespignani said.
He urged the public to get a COVID booster and flu vaccine, especially people at high risk of severe disease.
"It's not the moment to panic, but to follow the recommendations that are coming from health agencies and the CDC," Vespignani said.
Watch: ‘We need to be ready’: CDC gives Northeastern $17.5M to spot next outbreak