Emerging infectious diseases and pandemic potential: status quo and reducing risk of global spread

Emerging infectious diseases are an important public health threat and infections with pandemic potential are a major global risk. Although much has been learned from previous events the evidence for mitigating actions is not definitive and pandemic preparedness remains a political and scientific challenge. A need exists to develop trust and effective meaningful collaboration between countries to help with rapid detection of potential pandemic infections and initiate public health actions. This collaboration should be within the framework of the International Health Regulations. Collaboration between countries should be encouraged in a way that acknowledges the benefits that derive from sharing biological material and establishing equitable collaborative research partnerships. The focus of pandemic preparedness should include upstream prevention through better collaboration between human and animal health sciences to enhance capacity to identify potential pathogens before they become serious human threats, and to prevent their emergence where possible. The one-health approach provides a means to develop this and could potentially enhance alignment of global health and trade priorities.

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