On December 1, 2021, a historic global effort to develop a “Pandemic Treaty” was unveiled. The draft of the treaty will be written and negotiated under the Constitution of the World Health Organization and under the World Health Assembly. Its goal is “to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response” as well as “protecting the world from future infectious diseases crises”.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, global collaborations have been critical to rapidly develop scientific approaches to combat the pandemic. The learnings of these collaborations can now be leveraged to prepare ourselves for new post-pandemic challenges.
This is the topic of the 2021 virtual international conference organized by the Biosafety Level 4 Zoonotic Laboratory Network (BSLZ4Net).
Austria, a comparably small country with a population of 8 million, has assisted other countries in every major crisis since 2003. I was curious how this impressive track record was made possible.
My enquiry to the Austrian Government was kindly answered with an invitation from Dr. Roman Bayer, who I met in Vienna. Dr. Bayer works for the Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Government of the Republic of Austria.
As part of my work for NYU’s School of Global Public Health, I have been compiling and comparing key metrics for the most severe global pandemics that occurred in the past 100 years.
I am comparing COVID-19 metrics to seasonal influenza, 1918 Spanish flu, 1957 Asian flu, 1968 Hong Kong flu, and 2009-10 H1N1. There are many similarities and differences that can be observed. Aside from the astonishing speed of vaccine development to combat COVID-19, there are three interesting findings.
In this part of my conversation with Prof. Dr. Manfred Wildner and Dr. Herbert Zöllner in Munich, we are discussing biothreat and pandemic preparedness in Germany.
Dr. Zöllner worked for the World Health Organization from 1971-2002, in a variety of roles. He was Regional Officer for Health Economics at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen and later member of the executive management team in Strategic Planning and Coordination.
This Wall Street Journal article was written by Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. While COVID-19 preoccupies us at the moment, it is crucial to begin thinking about the next inevitable pandemics. Dr. Frieden explains that in the years after COVID-19, it is likely that another infectious disease, possibly a similar pneumonia-like illness, suddenly emerges. Will we be ready?
During my internship at New York University’s Department of Public Safety, I had an opportunity to learn about emergency management and preparedness. An interesting fact I came across while looking at how individual countries organize themselves in the field of crisis management, is that Austria, a comparably small country with a population of 8 million, has assisted other countries in every major crisis since 2003. I was curious how this impressive track record was made possible.
My enquiry to the Austrian government was kindly answered with an invitation from Dr. Roman Bayer, who I met in Vienna. Dr. Bayer works for the Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Government of the Republic of Austria.
I originally created this blog as a way to spread awareness of the importance of public health preparedness, as it was an undervalued and underfunded topic. However, times have changed and public health and emergency management are at the forefront of news and public policy today as a result of COVID-19.
If you are working for a healthcare organization and are looking for a COVID-19 disaster plan, you can now download a template using the link below.
Freely available to any organization, COVID-19 disaster plan templates were created by 30 students from schools across NYU including Medicine, Nursing, Public Service, Social Work and Global Public Health.
Since the Hong Kong health system is often an important gatekeeper with regard to pandemics, I was interested to find out how the government structures preparedness efforts for both unintentional and intentional biological incidents.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, I spoke to a senior officer who is working for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). We discussed the Hong Kong Government’s approach to bioterror and public health preparedness.