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Have we realized 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 each day lives within the time of Covid-19.

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

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

First lesson realized: “the query of the subsequent 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. After we had been engaged on the pandemic plans, folks stated “that is science fiction, it would by no means occur”. It was esoteric”.

Nevertheless, in view of what has occurred in recent times, “with the epidemics of H1N1, chikungunya, Zika, Ebola after which Covid-19, we needed to face the information, abounds Professor Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the Infectious Illnesses Division at Bichat Hospital and Director of the ANRS Rising Infectious Illnesses. Urbanization, international warming, altering contact between man and his setting, and speedy and large human displacements: the likelihood of a subsequent pandemic is all of the better due to these elements”. For the 2 scientists, this commentary “exhibits at the moment how essential it’s to arrange 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 remembers. However at one level, we had been incorrect: by mimicry, we thought that the Covid was solely transmitted between symptomatic folks, when not. And the magnitude of the pandemic has been very a lot linked to this issue”. It has additionally been linked to the shortage of masks. “There’s a pretty acute consciousness that sustaining strategic shares has an curiosity and that they shouldn’t be lowered outdoors of intervals of disaster”, assures Professor Lina. Contacted by 20 minutesthe Directorate Common of Well being (DGS) didn’t reply to our requests on the reconstitution of those State shares.

At the moment, “the scenario was so advanced 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 by way of 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 might be higher off than earlier than the Covid. Additionally on epidemiological monitoring, because of databases which permit very exact monitoring by way of incidence, regional variations and vaccination”.

Establish and monitor pathogens

Nevertheless, to be actually prepared, “we should anticipate, by figuring out prematurely the pathogens which can be almost definitely to evolve right into a pandemic: coronaviruses, but in addition arboviruses, similar to dengue fever or zika, transmitted by mosquitoes, remembers Professor Yazdanpanah. We should monitor these pathogens, examine 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 as a way 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 geared toward “strengthening prevention, preparation and response within the occasion of a pandemic”. “The teachings of the pandemic shouldn’t be ignored,” commented WHO Director-Common 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 aspect. “Through 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 document time, but when tomorrow a brand new pandemic breaks out and humanity have to be vaccinated, the factors of manufacturing, conservation, price and fairness should be understood from the beginning. . Vaccines which can be too costly to supply or tough 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 related, deplores Professor Lina. At present, you need to seek the advice of a database to seek out out if a person is vaccinated, and one other to seek out out if he has already been contaminated, however there is no such thing as a centralization of knowledge. It could take, on the Danish mannequin, a novel 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 correct mix of measures

Within the meantime, “we should concentrate on prevention”, urge the 2 scientists. “The important thing aspect that has made it doable to manage this pandemic is vaccination, remembers Professor Lina. Membership was very robust in essentially the most acute section of the well being disaster, however as soon as the well being move was deserted, vaccination charges for booster campaigns fell. We have now 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 how one can promote the acceptance of those measures amongst this public”.

If on the worst 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 how one can say when they’re not so”.

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