Sunday, December 08, 2013

Staying out of the Next Pandemic

I ran across an article discussing how a lab, working with genetically modified viruses could work to contain a pandemic if the virus escaped the lag. They have some interesting ideas and this one caught my eye.

We find that the containment depends on the timely implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions and contact tracing and it may be effective (>90% probability per event) only for pathogens with moderate transmissibility (reproductive number no larger than R0 = 1.5). Containment depends on population density and structure as well, with a probability of giving rise to a global event that is three to five times lower in rural areas. 
Results suggest that controllability of escape events is not guaranteed and, given the rapid increase of biosafety laboratories worldwide, this poses a serious threat to human health. Our findings may be relevant to policy makers when designing adequate preparedness plans and may have important implications for determining the location of new biosafety laboratories worldwide.
Food for thought.

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