Three practical actions could help prevent the next pandemic

Reduced deforestation, better management of wildlife trade and hunting, and better surveillance of zoonotic pathogens before they spill into human populations are all key strategies that could help prevent future pandemics, according to a new report.

Lead author of the report was Aaron Bernstein, interim director of Harvard Chan School’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE). Marcia Castro, Andelot Professor of Demography and chair of the Department of Global Health and Population, was a co-author.

The strategies recommended in the report would cost about $20 billion a year—less than 5% of the lowest estimated value of lives lost from emerging viral zoonoses every year.

In a February 4, 2022 article in E&E News, Bernstein said that the current approach to pandemics ignores primary prevention, instead relying on vaccines, tests, and therapeutics.

“If you said, ‘Let’s not prevent climate change or do any mitigation; let’s just deal with the effects,’ that’s what we are dealing with right now,” he said.

Read the E&E News article: Study ties environmental conservation to pandemic prevention

Learn more

Stopping ‘spillover’ events key to preventing future pandemics (Harvard Chan School news)