Global Community Must Take Action To End ‘Pandemic Era’

STAT: An end to pandemics is within reach, but we must redouble efforts now
Daniel Schar, senior regional emerging infectious diseases adviser at USAID’s regional mission in Bangkok

“…When the new [WHO] director general takes the helm on July 1, at the top of his or her list should be a focused and targeted approach to ending the pandemic era. … Can we reduce the likelihood of these yet-unknown viruses finding favorable conditions for emergence as the next pandemic? Absolutely. To start, we must fill the substantial gaps that remain in our understanding of complicated dynamics of transmission risk. … We must also recognize that our sclerotic, siloed health systems no longer reflect the challenges we face today. … Finally, we need to make an economic case for prevention and capitalize the transition to flexible, efficient human and animal health systems that can prevent disease transmission and, if necessary, rapidly detect and contain emergences of infectious diseases before they become pandemics. … A failure to seize current opportunities and hasten the end of the pandemic era leaves our global community — and future generations — exquisitely vulnerable. That’s a legacy no generation should have to bear” (5/15).