What are the best pandemic investments right now?

August 26, 2022 – Next-generation vaccines and air filtration are among the most important areas to invest in to tame the pandemic going forward, according to experts quoted in an August 24, 2022 article in Vox.

The development of next-generation vaccines—which could prevent COVID-19 infection altogether—could be a game-changer, the experts said. And improving indoor air quality could dramatically reduce COVID-19 transmission as well as provide other benefits.

Among those quoted in the article were Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Joseph Allen, associate professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings Program, and Lisa Robinson, senior research scientist and deputy director at the Center for Health Decision Science.

Allen said that one of the key advantages of improving indoor air quality is that it wouldn’t require behavior change from most people who would benefit. “It doesn’t require you to push masks on people or force them to test each day when they’re on a university campus,” he said. In addition to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases, air quality improvements in buildings could also boost worker and student productivity and improve energy efficiency. “There’s so much magic that can happen when we pursue a healthy buildings strategy that goes so far beyond COVID,” said Allen.

Robinson noted that decisions about pandemic investments have a lot to do with who’s making them, what their budgets are, and who their constituencies are—and that their decisions could vary accordingly. “The most important thing isn’t really the method that you use” to fight the virus, she said. “It’s being thoughtful about what might actually happen if you’ve implemented policy.”

Read the Vox article: The two big pandemic investments we still need to make