Want to prevent pandemics? Stop spillovers


The unprecedented death toll and economic loss from the COVID-19 pandemic have forced policymakers to think and plan to prevent such catastrophic pandemics in the future. Since almost every viral pandemic that has occurred since the start of the 20th century including HIV, the 1918 flu pandemic, and COVID-19 resulted from the spillover events, where a pathogen originates in animals and jumps into people causing a disease, being proactive to reduce such spillover could significantly prevent such pandemics in future.


With a small investment of just around US$20 billion a year, scientists believe it will cut the millions of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent on pandemics like COVID-19 in the future.


Many ongoing international efforts have portrayed at least three landmark international health and biodiversity agreements with the emphasis on focusing on the following four categories:

  • Protect forests, especially in hotspots for emerging infectious diseases

  • Strictly regulate the trade of live wild animals

  • Improve farm biosecurity

  • Invest in people’s health and economic security to reduce high-risk activities and vulnerabilities


Health experts and policymakers from around the world are expected to act on this sooner rather than later to prevent unforeseen human and economic tolls in the future.


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