The COVID-19 pandemic has opened a window of opportunity for rethinking the way countries prepare for public-health crises. This window must not be wasted.
Preparing for the next pandemic
Nature Medicine launches a special Focus dedicated to understanding the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to begin to explore the lessons that can be drawn from the mistakes in handling the current health crisis in order to prepare for future ones.
The pandemic has been a source of a sometimes overwhelming sense of uncertainty. We asked our readers to share how they have used art to document their experiences.
Although many health experts around the world must stay focused on the ongoing viral pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, similar viruses and microbial organisms such as bacteria could create the next global killer. Experts discuss the most likely culprits.
Public-health researchers are more visible than ever before. But for some, this has led to abuse and attacks that threaten to silence them.
Former WHO Director-General Margaret Chan has learned some tenets at the heart of resolving every global health crisis. However, in the COVID-19 pandemic, pervasive complacency in the face of this learning kills.
The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to reimagine preparedness for and responses to future pandemics.
The COVID-19 pandemic should revive a shared understanding of humanitarian emergencies and crisis resolution, opening the door to transformative change in humanitarian responses. But it has also revealed political opportunism and poor data-reporting structures.
Investigations show that those spreading misinformation that undermines the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 are well financed, determined and disciplined. To counter their activities, we need to understand them as an industry actively working to sow doubts about the deadliness of COVID-19, vaccines and medical professionals’ integrity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reasserted the central role of effective diagnostics in the response to outbreaks. But a lack of coordination still hampers widespread access to these critical tools. A diagnostics agenda for global health is urgently needed for the promotion of diagnostics as a global good and to ensure their delivery.
In a health emergency, clear, two-way communication between researchers and a broad spectrum of stakeholders is essential to establishing trust—a prerequisite for meaningful uptake of new treatments and vaccines.
Revisiting the challenges of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when doctors and patients had to make treatment decisions without the support of scientific evidence, can provide valuable clues on how to prepare for future pandemics.
Climate change can both facilitate zoonotic spillovers and have an effect on transmission chains. These effects, alongside human behavior and awareness, need to be integrated in pandemic forecasting models.
Reviews and Perspectives
All countries worldwide have signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and committed to the objective of achieving universal health coverage. Getting there will require understanding how packages of essential health services can be developed in resource-constrained settings and how experts and the public can make decisions about which health services should be provided free of charge.
Recent advances in computational and laboratory sciences are helping researchers to address large-scale sustained emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and constantly adapt to the emergence of new questions, data and findings in order to synthesize real-time evidence that will inform policy decisions.
Global coordination of public health efforts will be needed to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for future public health emergencies.
As the emergence of viral diseases is expected to accelerate, proactive programs to develop broadly active family-specific and cross-family antiviral therapeutics will be key to prepare for future disease outbreaks.
A comprehensive review of the current literature on post-acute COVID-19, also referred to as long COVID, its pathophysiology and its organ-specific sequelae highlights the need for multidisciplinary follow-up and care of COVID-19 survivors.
Examination of the vaccine strategies and technical platforms used for the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of those used for previous emerging and reemerging infectious diseases and pandemics can offer critical lessons to prepare for future public health emergencies.