Opinion: We Need a New Global Surveillance System to Detect and Prevent the Next Pandemic

The following excerpt is taken from an article on Devex that was posted on May 17, 2021.

 
Dennis Carroll
URC Senior Advisor for Global Health Security
 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare our collective weaknesses to effectively respond to the emergence of a highly contagious and lethal microbial threat. Despite extraordinary advances in science and global health during the past century, we still live in a world wherein a deadly infectious agent can emerge without warning and spread rapidly across the planet.

COVID-19 is only the latest pandemic of an emergent pathogen this century. It probably won’t be the last. During the past 20 years, a number of high-impact pathogens have emerged or re-emerged from non-human animals, including:

  • Three new coronaviruses detected: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012; and COVID-19 virus;
  • A number of highly pathogenic influenza A viruses, including: H5N1 in 2003; H7N9 in 2013; the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, commonly known as bird flu,” and
  • The continuing rise and spread of Ebola in West and Central Africa since 2013 and the emergence of the Zika virus as a global health emergency in 2016.

For the rest of the 21st century...

 

 

A team in Laos using a portable PCR for rapid testing of poultry for detection of novel bird flus. Photo by: Dennis Carroll
A team in Laos using a portable PCR for rapid testing of poultry for detection of novel bird flus. Photo by: Dennis Carroll
Date 
May 17, 2021
Regions/ Countries