Advancing Human Security and Community Resilience

Focus Area: Pandemic Security

Scientific Preparedness for Pandemic Prevention

15 November 2021

Pandemic has Galvanised Global Momentum to Develop Scientific Capacity for Pandemic Prevention

Failure to prevent this pandemic has caused an unprecedented human tragedy and economic loss and demonstrated the need for all countries to make global health security a priority. It has galvanised global momentum to strengthen and rapidly build scientific capacity to track the evolution of the virus and develop new diagnostics and vaccines. Building on the lessons learned from this pandemic, The Rockefeller Foundation is therefore committed to developing an early warning system that can quickly detect emerging infectious diseases. It is establishing a global network of scientists who can identify emerging pathogens, understand disease dynamics, and swiftly share information to inform public health interventions and development of medical countermeasures.

Collaboration at the National and Regional Levels Required for Integrated Responses

To sustain networks for scientific preparedness, national and regional leadership and partnerships are necessary to enable effective coordination and collaboration. In Thailand, a collaboration between local public health officials and scientists who sequence genomes, led to the successful reopening of a market that had previously been closed due to the resurgence of COVID-19. Regional cooperation is also pivotal to facilitate cross-border disease surveillance and response. For example, the Africa CDC Institute of Pathogen Genomics networked with continental, regional and national labs to leverage and strengthen existing capacity for genomics sequencing during the pandemic.

Charting the Future for Pandemic Security

There are four key pillars of scientific preparedness that the Call to Action focuses on:

Key Factors that Enable Success of Regional Centres for Disease Control

For optimal operationalisation of regional and global public health institutions, including the proposed ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, four key insights have been realised from research findings. This includes, firstly, developing a shared vision, an understanding of the context, and collective ownership among member countries. Secondly, clear governance structures are needed to minimise parallelism, overlap, and future conflicts. Thirdly, having an initial design, planning, monitoring and evaluation is essential and it should involve multi-sectoral engagement of stakeholders. Lastly, to ensure long term success, sustainable core funding should be secured. These are key lessons that can inform the development of institutions that strengthen national scientific capacity and innovation, and regional coordination to ensure that the world is better prepared for the next pandemic.