A War Plan for the Next Coronavirus Starts Now
History tells us that every century or two, there is a particularly virulent pathogen that poses a significant global threat to humans. We don’t know if the coronavirus will have the transmission rate of the Spanish Influenza of a century ago — which infected more than a third of the world’s population — and it hasn’t had anything like the 60% lethality of the Avian Flu of 1997. But what if someday we face a biological opponent that combines both?
Obviously, we are in an all-hands-on-deck moment. Our best scientists and physicians are working desperately to develop both a vaccine to prevent infection and drugs to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, the actual disease caused by the coronavirus. But even as we struggle to contain, treat and ultimately defeat the coronavirus, we need to be thinking about next pandemic. How can experience from past crises be useful in combating this one? How can we ensure that lessons learned from the coronavirus fight are used to prepare us for the next time?