The Transition from Pandemic Response to Pandemic Prevention
Global Viral Forecasting Initiative and Stanford University; Presented by Dr. Travis Taylor, Global Viral Forecasting Initiative
We live in an era of unprecedented threats from microbes. Various factors have conspired to make the global human population more susceptible than ever to pandemics with the potential to devastate health and economies. The speed and frequency of contemporary pandemics make the relatively slow and resource-intensive traditional public heath responses — such as the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments — insufficient. Fortunately, a new wave of scientific research has revealed that far from random occurrences, pandemics share a number of features which make them amenable to prediction and prevention. A percentage of the global disease control portfolio must now be re-focused on the creation of a global pandemic immune system, aimed at seeking out novel infections in humans and animals before they spread regionally, identifying quickly and effectively the agents causing them, and sounding alarms which permit rapid response and containment weeks, months, and years earlier than current systems allow. Such systems will provide much-needed protection from both natural as well as artificial microbial threats, helping move global disease control toward a truly preventative science.