DrPh Jennifer Nuzzo, Professor at Brown University School of Public Health and speaker at the World Vaccine Congress 2022, warned that we’re not ready to prevent another pandemic. Unless public health officials take concrete steps, she fears we will experience more waves of disease.  

“This pandemic is not a one-off. It’s not a once-in-a century event. The likelihood of new pathogens emerging means we should expect a future filled with infectious disease threats that we must be ready to fight.”  

Dr Nuzzo says that governments at every level must treat this as a fundamental threat to national peace and prosperity. We should expect to encounter more respiratory viruses. Thus, we must match safety measures to these pathogens. She recommends concrete steps such as improving ventilation in buildings.  

“The progress made during Covid-19 must not be followed by quiet time in which we forget rather than work hard to prepare for the next one. We went through this hideous experience and failing to strengthen our readiness is the biggest mistake we could make.” 

Home testing was clearly beneficial in detecting and fighting Covid-19. It would be extremely valuable if we developed this for other infectious diseases, such as strep throat and influenza, Dr. Nuzzo said. This might help the public understand isolation requirements. “Simple behaviour changes” will be key to reducing the spread of other pathogens.  

“I think in some ways we will be better prepared for the next pandemic, but that is partially shaped by education and awareness. I am optimistic. There’s a tremendous number of things that we can do, and we are at that moment.”

*To hear DrPH Nuzzo at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington in 2023, click here to get your tickets!