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Future pandemics can be prevented! Here's how. 4 points

By Livemint
Spillover events increases chances of pandemic (REUTERS)

Every year, US$20 billion is being invested globally to reduce spillover. “That is a small investment compared with the millions of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent in the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost is also one-twentieth of the statistical value of the lives lost each year to viral diseases that have spilled over from animals since 1918 (see ‘Spillovers: a growing threat’), and less than one-tenth of the economic productivity erased per year," a study published in Nature said. 

Here is how we can prevent spillover

The risk of spillover is much more when there are more opportunities for animals and humans to make contact. Several studies have shown it can be greatly reduced by 4 actions. And here they are: 

  • First, tropical and subtropical forests must be protected. Various studies show that changes in the way land is used, particularly tropical and subtropical forests, might be the largest driver of emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin globally, the Nature article pointed out. 
  • Second, commercial markets and trade of live wild animals that pose a public-health risk must be banned or strictly regulated, both domestically and internationally.
  • Third, biosecurity must be improved when dealing with farmed animals. Among other measures, this could be achieved through better veterinary care, enhanced surveillance for animal diseases etc, the article pointed out.
  • Fourth, particularly in hotspots for the emergence of infectious diseases, people’s health and economic security should be improved. People in poor health — such as those who have malnutrition or uncontrolled HIV infection — can be more susceptible to zoonotic pathogens
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Dive Deeper:
Households falling into poverty isn’t inevitable. Here’s how we can prevent it
With inflation set to reach 10% and wages falling short, ministers can’t ignore the crisis affecting ever more voters, says…
Bill Gates: ‘Vaccines are a miracle. It’s mind-blowing somebody could say the opposite’
The Microsoft co-founder takes questions from scientists, academics and readers on Ukraine, Covid, Jeffrey Epstein and more
How climate change is triggering a global collapse in insect numbers
A growing number of reports are suggesting insect numbers are in steep decline. Tim Newbold and Charlie Outhwaite explain why…
How Public Health Failed America
The U.S. clearly failed to heed expert advice, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
How to spot bark beetles and deadly fungus: the UK’s new tree-saving lab needs your help
Hi-tech laboratory launched to save trees from threats including oak processionary moth, emerald ash borer and citrus longhorn beetle
Two more monkeypox cases in London not linked to previous infection as virus spreads
The UK Health Security Agency confirmed two more people from the same household, but said the cases are not linked…
Get all your news in one place