The upgrades we can make today to fight the pandemics of tomorrow.
What’s worse than having a disease? murdered at least 6 million people worldwide and nearly 1 million in the US alone, if not much more† What could be harder to endure than more than two years of unprecedented economic and social disruption† The next pandemic.
The ingredients for an even more devastating pandemic are already there. The rate of viral spillovers from animals to humans has increasedeven as advances in new biotech tools raise the specter of man-made pandemics, deadlier than anything that can be devised by nature.
Perhaps worst of all, the millions of deaths from Covid-19 have somehow not been enough to convince Congress to fully fund the programs needed to prepare for the next pandemic. At best the government may approve a reduced package soon specifically aimed at Covid-19.
This is shockingly short-sighted. More than any other single existential threatwhether natural or anthropogenic, a contagious and deadly infectious disease pandemic has the potential to truly derail humanity’s present—and its future.
But it is within our power to mitigate or even prevent the coming biological disasters. Over the next week, we’ll be publishing stories explaining how to bolster our pandemic defenses for speed and resilience. From peacetime testing of vaccines and antivirals before the next outbreak hits, to the creation of a reserve health force to man the medical frontlines, to how simulations of future disasters can help us prepare for the worst, these are the pandemic upgrades we can make today to save lives tomorrow.
Scientists have a strong idea of what types of viruses can trigger an outbreak. We can now fund vaccines and treatments for them. †Dylan Matthews
Finding the next pandemic virus – before it finds us
The tedious work of searching, sorting and sharing viruses around the world. †Umair Irfan
Why experts are terrified of a man-made pandemic – and what we can do to stop it (coming on April 5)
As biology improves, biosecurity becomes more difficult. Here’s what the world can do to prepare. †Kelsey Piper
How to test and detect a virus we haven’t discovered yet (coming on April 6)
We have the technology to make sure the next outbreak doesn’t turn into another Covid-19. †Dylan Matthews
How sewage can warn us of the next pandemic (coming on April 6)
The ins and outs of wastewater monitoring. †Muizz Akhtar
America needs more doctors and nurses to survive the next pandemic (coming on April 7)
Staff shortages crippled America’s response to Covid-19. That can’t happen again. †Dylan Scott
How to Future-Proof Your Life Against Pandemics and Other Threats (as of April 8)
You can prepare your brain for the next major disaster, biological or otherwise. A futurist explains how. †sigal samuel
Can we 3D print a better face mask? (coming on April 8)
How 3D printing can help reduce PPE shortages in future pandemics† —Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg
- 1 We need to develop vaccines for the next pandemic – right now
- 2 Finding the next pandemic virus – before it finds us
- 3 Why experts are terrified of a man-made pandemic – and what we can do to stop it (coming on April 5)
- 4 How to test and detect a virus we haven’t discovered yet (coming on April 6)
- 5 How sewage can warn us of the next pandemic (coming on April 6)
- 6 America needs more doctors and nurses to survive the next pandemic (coming on April 7)
- 7 How to Future-Proof Your Life Against Pandemics and Other Threats (as of April 8)
- 8 Can we 3D print a better face mask? (coming on April 8)