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Preparing for the Next Pandemic: The Emerging Infectious Disease Threat

‐ Jan 28, 2019 11:00pm

Emerging infectious diseases are relatively little understood. Their periodic, unpredictable outbreaks can quickly transform into global pandemics, as was the case with SARS and avian influenza. They tend to be zoonotic (deriving from an animal source), infect thousands of people at a time, engender significant fear and panic, and have high mortality rates, which is frequently because the public infrastructure to diagnose, prevent and treat them is lacking. Newer examples of these diseases include MERS and Ebola, both of which are RNA viruses with the ability to mutate from one outbreak to the next, making them that much deadlier.

This thought-provoking epanel broadcast will discuss a range of questions and challenges surrounding emerging infectious diseases, including:

  • How do emerging infectious diseases differ from regular infectious diseases?
  • What drives the emergence of these diseases?
  • What are optimal ways to respond to emerging infectious disease outbreaks and is a new paradigm needed?
  • How have societal changes such as international travel, livestock practices and social media changed the nature of pandemics, such as by amplifying disease transmission and sowing panic?
  • Which newly emerging infectious diseases represent the greatest coming threats?
  • How can we provide incentives for vaccinating animal carriers, some of whom don’t fall sick from the virus they are carrying?
  • What is the role of big pharma in responding to these threats and who will fund the development of vaccines and other therapeutics?

Following the panel discussion broadcast, audience members watching the live event will be able to participate in a live Q&A with the panelists. Questions can be submitted during the broadcast via Twitter or the chat room, or in advance when registering for the event.

This epanel was filmed during the Keystone Symposia conference on “Framing the Response to Emerging Virus Infections” at the Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre of The University of Hong Kong, October 14-18, 2018, and was made possible with funding from both The University of Hong Kong and the Croucher Foundation.

Event Hashtag: #VKSpandemic