Anticipating The Next Pandemic

Anticipating The Next Pandemic
Anticipating The Next Pandemic

Africa-Press – Lesotho. The journal Foreign Affairs recently republished a 2005 article by Michael T. Osterholm titled Preparing ForThe Next Pandemic. A version of his article also appeared that same year in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Osterholm is a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Director of its Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He is well known to Americans as a frequent commentator on the Covid-19 pandemic since 2020. Osterholm had a dire warning: “Can disaster be avoided? The answer is a qualified yes. Although a coming pandemic cannot be avoided, its impact can be considerably lessened. ”

We should not lose sight of the fact that Osterholm was predicting that a strain of the H5N1 influenza virus would cause the next pandemic although he did allow that it could be caused by a novel strain.

He reasoned that the increasing incidence of H5N1 infections in both humans and animals, near misses with respect to sustained human-to-human transmission and increases in the pathogenicity of the H5N1 Z genotype due to ongoing genetic changes, and a sort of perfect storm mix of people, pigs, and poultry in Asia was akin to having a laboratory capable of generating the next virulent strain.

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