EU, United States launch joint health task force

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts EU and U.S. flags at the start of the 2nd round of EU-US trade negociations at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and the United States have launched a new joint health task force to cooperate on cancer, global health threats and related supply chains and infrastructure, officials told a press conference on Wednesday.

The task force was set up on the heels of a cooperation agreement signed in June last year to tackle health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides met U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra in Brussels to launch the unit.

The task force has already established two working groups focused on childhood and young adult cancer and lung cancer to cover prevention, detection and care. The first working groups convened virtually for the first time on May 10.

Working groups for other priority areas were still in the process of being established, the statement said, and that women's rights and reproductive health were also among the priorities.

The EU and the U.S. said they are seeking to establish "durable global mechanisms" to handle health threats including avian flu, Marburg disease, antimicrobial resistance as well as post-COVID-19 conditions.

(Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Sharon Singleton)