Next flu pandemic is inevitable

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 13, 2019

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference after an Emergency Committee meeting on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, August 14, 2018.

The World Health Organization released what it's calling the "most comprehensive and far-reaching" strategy for fighting influenza Monday, reminding the world that the threat of a pandemic is "ever-present".

To reach such an ambitious target, Ghebreyesus highlights global cooperation as paramount to the success of the strategy, in order to avoid a repeat of the H1N1 (Swine flu) pandemic of 2009 and 2010.

Another flu pandemic is inevitable and the world must prepare for potential devastation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, warning that the risks must not be underestimated.

The WHO said there were an estimated 1 billion cases of flu each year, resulting in 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths. "So, we really need to help countries strengthen their routine programs for influenza so that they build capacity not only for flu, but other emerging diseases".

The new World Health Organization influenza strategy builds on the more-than-65-year-old Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System, the backbone of the global alert system for influenza, and the on-going Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, a unique access and benefit sharing system that helps sharing potentially pandemic viruses, providing access to vaccines and treatments in the event of a pandemic, and building pandemic preparedness capacities in countries.

"In a ideal world, everyone would be vaccinated", Friede told reporters in Geneva.

"With the partnerships and country-specific work we have been doing over the years, the world is better prepared than ever before for the next big outbreak, but we are still not prepared enough", he said.

In 2011, states got together and approved the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.Currently, 400 million doses of vaccine could be made available for distribution among countries under this plan in case of a pandemic.Unfortunately, this is not enough to help everyone.

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