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Thursday, June 10, 2021

BY JEFFREY KLUGER

A Blueprint for Preventing Another Pandemic

As long as there are pathogens and hosts there will be outbreaks of disease. The best human beings can do is learn from previous experience—studying what went right or wrong in one pandemic and applying that wisdom to the next.

In an effort to do just that, TIME’s science and health team—led for this project by my colleague Emily Barone, with guidance from the University of Washington Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness—polled 73 experts in public health, infectious disease, immunology, hospital administration, data and technology, environment and climate, and more. TIME sent each a list of about 50 initiatives that could mitigate the next health crisis and asked them to score each strategy’s priority and feasibility on a scale of 1 to 5.

When it came to priority, experts put bolstering vaccine research and manufacturing at the top of the list, followed by improving systems that track and alert the world to new diseases. What’s more, both these proposals also scored highly on feasibility, meaning experts saw few barriers to implementation—indeed, the current pandemic stands as proof of that, Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, reminded TIME, as he analyzed the results of the survey. “When it came to COVID-19 … the scientific and vaccine manufacturing community rallied, producing the first safe and effective vaccine in record time—just 327 days.”

Similarly, Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and another analyst who weighed in on the survey results, was struck by the power of disease surveillance during the current crisis. “Experts agree that a robust system for detecting emerging infections on a global basis is now technologically feasible,” she said, “ if we figure out coordinated planning and appropriate investment in modern data analytics and molecular diagnostics.”

Other initiatives that experts also ranked as essential look tougher to accomplish. Ranked as high priority but less feasible were expanding health care access, distributing vaccines fairly and other strategies addressing inequalities that have exacerbated COVID-19’s toll on vulnerable populations. That will take local action. “Individual governments can take matters into their own hands. First, they must get their own shops in order,” says Dr. Leana Wen, former Health Commissioner of Baltimore. “They need to rigorously evaluate their country’s pandemic response and make necessary investments to the local public health infrastructure.”

None of these insights will, by themselves, prevent the next pandemic. But all may make us better prepared to face it down.


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Lê Trung Tĩnh

16030 Credits Price: 16 USD/hr
  • Location:
  • United Kingdom - London
  • Gender:
  • Male
  • Languages:
  • Vietnamese
    English
    French
  • Transports:
  • Bus
    Car
    Motorcycle
    Boat
    Bicycle
  • Availability:
  • Night
  • Interest:
  • Travel
    In English
    Education
    Sports
    Nature
    Entertainment
    Technology
    Fun
About me:

Love to travel, explore, meet new friends, share and carry out together socio-political activities. Founder and CEO of Livenguide, a social network that connects People and Activities. LivenGuide... See more

Friend list (957)