WHO’s Removal Of Zika From Emergency Status Without Reliable Diagnostic Tools Represents ‘Win’ For Microbes

Scientific American: The Microbes Have Won Again
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…The WHO decision to downgrade Zika from emergency status is not good news … T[he] declaration reflects defeat. … As has too often been the case in epidemics we have no point-of-care diagnostic tool for Zika that can swiftly and accurately answer [some] vital questions … So what is our take-home message from the Zika normalization? Microbes win. And they will continue to do so until we … develop the proper tools for rapid identification and response to outbreaks, when, and where, they begin. Waiting until a newly emerging microbe is at your doorstep guarantees failure. And only investing in treatments and vaccines ties the hands of disease responders, leaving them without the tools to rapidly assess the scope and transmission of the unfolding nightmare” (11/21).