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Have we discovered the teachings to stop future pandemics?

The “mysterious Chinese language pneumonia”. That is how it began three years in the past: an unknown virus found in a market in Wuhan, China, on the finish of December 2019. On January 24, 2020, the very first French circumstances had been recognized. On the time, authorities and scientists wished to be assured: there was no danger of an epidemic in France. The remaining, everybody is aware of. Pandemic, containment, PCR, barrier gestures, masks, curfew, vaccines and successive waves have permeated our vocabulary and our day by day lives within the time of Covid-19.

However three years later, what classes have we discovered from the well being disaster? Are we ready for the following pandemic risk?

“It is not if, however when” the following pandemic will happen

First lesson discovered: “the query of the following pandemic isn’t whether or not it would happen, however when, signifies Professor Bruno Lina, virologist and member of Covars, the Committee for monitoring and anticipating well being dangers which has succeeded the Scientific Council. Beforehand, this was not an opinion shared and understood by the inhabitants and even by a sure variety of decision-makers. Once we had been engaged on the pandemic plans, individuals stated “that is science fiction, it would by no means occur”. It was esoteric”.

Nonetheless, in view of what has occurred lately, “with the epidemics of H1N1, chikungunya, Zika, Ebola after which Covid-19, we needed to face the details, abounds Professor Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the Infectious Ailments Division at Bichat Hospital and Director of the ANRS Rising Infectious Ailments. Urbanization, international warming, altering contact between man and his atmosphere, and fast and large human displacements: the chance of a subsequent pandemic is all of the larger due to these components”. For the 2 scientists, this remark “reveals at this time how essential it’s to organize for this danger”.

Key instruments born out of the disaster

And three years in the past, when the primary Covid circumstances had been detected in Professor Yazdanpanah’s division, nobody was ready for this danger. “We in a short time knew that it was a coronavirus very near SARS, extreme acute respiratory syndrome, he recollects. However at one level, we had been unsuitable: by mimicry, we thought that the Covid was solely transmitted between symptomatic individuals, when not. And the magnitude of the pandemic has been very a lot linked to this issue”. It has additionally been linked to the dearth of masks. “There’s a pretty acute consciousness that sustaining strategic shares has an curiosity and that they shouldn’t be lowered exterior of intervals of disaster”, assures Professor Lina. Contacted by 20 minutesthe Directorate Normal of Well being (DGS) didn’t reply to our requests on the reconstitution of those State shares.

At the moment, “the scenario was so complicated that politicians wanted scientific help along with that supplied by well being companies, with the creation of the Scientific Council, a way of enlightening politicians who inscribed in the long run”. As well as, “we now have multiplied our diagnostic capacities, each when it comes to quantity and variety and sequencing, insists Prof. Lina. And we are able to capitalize on this: if a brand new pandemic had been to interrupt out, we’d be higher off than earlier than the Covid. Additionally on epidemiological monitoring, due to databases which permit very exact monitoring when it comes to incidence, regional variations and vaccination”.

Determine and monitor pathogens

Nonetheless, to be actually prepared, “we should anticipate, by figuring out prematurely the pathogens which might be most probably to evolve right into a pandemic: coronaviruses, but additionally arboviruses, comparable to dengue fever or zika, transmitted by mosquitoes, recollects Professor Yazdanpanah. We should monitor these pathogens, research their modes of transmission and their severity, that is a part of our roadmap”.

However for it to be efficient, surveillance have to be international, and “be a part of worldwide cooperation”, insists Professor Yazdanpanah. And articulate “with a monitoring system that features animal, human and environmental monitoring, provides Professor Lina. That is decisive to be able to hope to manage an emergence earlier than it impacts people”. Since 2022, the World Well being Group (WHO) has been engaged on the event of a textual content aimed toward “strengthening prevention, preparation and response within the occasion of a pandemic”. “The teachings of the pandemic shouldn’t be ignored,” commented WHO Director-Normal Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Innovate and construct bridges

Then, “as soon as the pathogens at pandemic danger have been recognized, we should innovate,” explains Professor Yazdanpanah. By growing upstream diagnostic and therapeutic instruments and vaccines, the event of which might then be accelerated within the occasion of the emergence of a pandemic”. As a result of the time issue is a key component. “In the course of the Covid disaster, analysis and innovation didn’t work collectively,” he underlines. You need to construct bridges between the 2.

Admittedly, vaccines have emerged in file time, but when tomorrow a brand new pandemic breaks out and humanity have to be vaccinated, the factors of manufacturing, conservation, value and fairness must be understood from the beginning. . Vaccines which might be too costly to supply or troublesome to retailer have an effect on the effectiveness of the response supplied”.

One other bridge to be established: that between the databases, “which aren’t linked, deplores Professor Lina. At the moment, you must seek the advice of a database to search out out if a person is vaccinated, and one other to search out out if he has already been contaminated, however there isn’t any centralization of knowledge. It will take, on the Danish mannequin, a singular figuring out variety of well being which might make it doable to have a instrument of well being follow-up actually highly effective and environment friendly”.

Prevention and the right combination of measures

Within the meantime, “we should deal with prevention”, urge the 2 scientists. “The important thing component that has made it doable to manage this pandemic is vaccination, recollects Professor Lina. Membership was very sturdy in essentially the most acute part of the well being disaster, however as soon as the well being move was deserted, vaccination charges for booster campaigns fell. Now we have appreciable work to do in France to revive confidence in vaccination, ”stated the virologist. Particularly since “we all know that essentially the most affected by these emergences are essentially the most susceptible populations, provides Professor Yazdanpanah. Therefore the significance of discovering learn how to promote the acceptance of those measures amongst this public”.

If on the top of the well being disaster, the French revered confinement, wore the masks and received vaccinated en masse, “to advertise adherence to those barrier measures over time, they have to be utilized in good correctly, solely when they’re wanted, insists Professor Lina. Which means understanding learn how to say when they’re now not so”.

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