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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Preventing Future Pandemics

Healthy Living Healthy Planet Radio host Bernice Butler discussed future pandemics with Dr. Aaron Bernstein as they explored Restoring our Earth -Restoration & Mitigation:  Biodiversity, Extinctions and our Health on April 24th.

Bernstein shared that the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) and the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) have convened a group of experts from around the world to identify the most effective ways to prevent new infectious diseases like COVID-19 before they start. In doing so, the group hopes to elevate the overlooked link between planetary and public health—the spillover of pathogens from animals into people.

“Every conversation about preparing for the next pandemic must include how to prevent it at its source, ”said Bernstein, interim director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE and the leader of the Scientific Task Force for Preventing Pandemics at the Source. “The current narrative on pandemic prevention is heavily weighted towards health system preparedness, containment and vaccinations. This presumes the best we can do is prevent a disease from spreading once it emerges, but the evidence shows that our best forms of prevention stop these viruses from spilling into humans in the first place.”

The task force will seek to fill critical gaps in our knowledge of how diseases spill over from animals to humans, including identifying risks like deforestation, wildlife trade and animal husbandry, cataloging interventions that successfully prevent disease emergence and laying out an action plan for how to prevent spillover in the future.

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