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How to prepare for the next pandemic

HYDERABAD :

Several experts and leaders like Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, had announced that the threat of covid-19 has receded. However, others, including the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics in the US, have warned that the world will see another pandemic—only that the pathogen will be a different one. Two years into the pandemic, experts remain divided on this perplexing question: what’s next?

It is eerie, but in recent history, and noticeably after the Second World War, we have seen pandemics surface almost every 10 years: the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu, cholera, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), HIV/AIDS, swine flu, middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS), ebola and then the deadly covid-19. Given the frequency and the almost predictable return of strange new pathogens, pandemics are clearly no black swan events and therefore health systems must be prepared for the next. Merely referring to them as ‘Acts of God’ won’t help.

The recent outbreaks in Shanghai and a suspected case of a new variant in Mumbai are ominous, to say the least. It is important for us to keep track of the ‘variants of interest’ and certainly of the ‘variants of concern’.

There are many concerns for India (and the world) and many questions to answer. What have we learnt over the last two years? Are we ready to fight the next battle against a new pathogen or a new disease? In fact, are we even ready for a new variant?

Part of the answer lies with the vaccination coverage.

Jabbed enough?

There are a number of vaccine sceptics who have asserted that vaccines are not the solution—that mass vaccination actually results in deadlier variants and that the vaccines themselves were hurriedly pushed through and

pandemic vaccine Health

Bill Gates

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