The pathogen that threatens a pandemic that would kill 80 million people

Between 2011 and 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 1,483 epidemics in 172 countries. Diseases that have a rapid dispersion such as influenza, acute and severe respiratory syndrome, Ebola, Zika, plague and yellow fever, among others, have caused several outbreaks that are increasingly spreading faster, more frequently and are more difficult to treat.

Today, different parts of the planet are dealing with diseases that defenestrate the population. Although these pathologies are present only in some points of the globe, the big question is: Are we ready for the next global pandemic? And the answer is monosyllabic: No.

The UN Global Health Crisis Working Group urged WHO and the World Bank to create what is known as GPMB in 2018, an independent body of experts that studies whether we are prepared for global health crises. Last week this institution published a report evaluating the current preparation of the planet for a global health crisis, and the data doesn't look good at all.

After an in-depth analysis in which they have taken into account from political trends to climate change, the members of the organization have concluded that "there is a real threat of a highly lethal pandemic, that would be produced by the rapid extension of a respiratory pathogen that would kill between 50 and 80 million people. "

High-impact respiratory pathogens is the worst biological agent to deal with. It spreads through the air and infects very quickly

This pandemic that would spread across the globe "It would be catastrophic, producing havoc, widespread instability and insecurity," says the independent group's report. "The world is not ready", notes the study with this rather alarming message.

Specific, the worst scenario we could face are high impact respiratory pathogens. This type of disease "spreads through the air, can infect a large number of people very quickly and, with the mobility that infrastructure currently allows, it can be quickly transported to multiple points of geography," the report said.

In addition to the risk of pandemics by natural pathogens, there is a serious problem with those that have been created or preserved in laboratories, which could become biological weapons. Terrorist groups or scientists can obtain dangerous strains and then spread them. "The consequences could be much more serious than those of a natural epidemic," says GPMB.

We still have time to save ourselves

But, although we are currently not prepared for a health crisis of this magnitude, GPMB experts point out that we still have time to prepare contingency plans to fight these pathogens.

Specific, collected seven specific actions that world leaders could carry out to increase our preparedness for these possible health crises, including the full implementation of the International Health Regulations, increased investment in vaccine research and development and the establishment of national preparedness systems.

"For too long we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we increase efforts when there is a serious threat and then quickly forget about them when the threat disappears." "It's time to act", conclude the authors of the report.

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