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Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness

The emergence of the next pandemic is inevitable, and simply a question of timing and circumstance.

Pandemics have in the recent past caused more human and economic loss than all other natural catastrophes combined. COVID-19, for example, caused 20 million excess deaths and cost $14 trillion worldwide.

The good news is that epidemics and pandemics can be prevented or overcome with fewer losses.

To address epidemics and pandemics, societies need versatile and complementary tools. Investment in pandemic preparedness is worthwhile because it reduces high social and economic losses; not just during pandemics, but also for seasonal disease outbreaks.

Our focus areas on biosecurity include:

Focus Areas

Vaccine Production Line

Invest in international pandemic preparedness

International collaboration is fundamental to enhancing pandemic preparedness, ensuring that the global community can effectively respond to future health crises. Central to this effort is the support for organizations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which spearheads the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases. Pour Demain advocates for increased backing of these initiatives, highlighting the necessity of global partnerships in research, funding, and sharing of critical information.

Image by Warren Umoh

Make DNA synthesis safe

DNA synthesis is the process of artificially constructing DNA sequences, enabling scientists to create genetic material from scratch. While this technology holds immense potential for medical and research advancements, it also poses a risk of being abused to engineer pathogens or bioweapons. Pour Demain emphasises the need for international screening systems to monitor DNA synthesis orders and the use of benchtop synthesizers. 

Image by Juliana Tanchak 🇺🇦

Improve indoor air quality

Indoor air quality is critical for health, reducing disease transmission and associated economic costs from healthcare and lost productivity. Technologies like far-UVC can disinfect air and surfaces effectively, highlighting the importance of regulatory support. Pour Demain advocates for such technologies, emphasising their potential to enhance indoor environments, mitigate disease spread, and ultimately contribute to a healthier society.

Water Flowing Out Pipe

Bolster early warning

Early warning systems through enhanced disease surveillance are pivotal in preventing and controlling epidemics. Expanding surveillance methods, such as wastewater monitoring, offers a non-invasive way to detect pathogens before outbreaks become widespread. Moreover, the adoption of pathogen-agnostic approaches—techniques that can identify a broad range of pathogens without prior knowledge of their identity—represents a forward-thinking strategy in epidemic preparedness. These advanced surveillance systems are invaluable not only in pandemic situations but also in managing seasonal epidemics, like influenza, ensuring timely responses and mitigating widespread impact. Pour Demain is an advocate for both political and research initiatives that aim to bolster these surveillance mechanisms. 

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