COVID-19 vaccines were made in record speed, taking around 300 days from the moment the threat was first identified. But the world’s top scientists are aiming to overtake this world record in the next pandemic, aiming to make a vaccine in 100 days.
Rift Valley fever used to mostly affect livestock in Africa. But the virus that causes it is also spread by mosquitoes whose habitats are expanding because of climate change. If it were to make its way to the rest of the world, it would decimate livestock causing agricultural collapse as well as affecting human health.
Spread from rodents to humans, old and new world Hantavirus has become endemic in many continents, but are sporadic cases of person-to-person transmission strong enough evidence to fear its pandemic potential?
Even before SARS-CoV-2 swept around the world, scientists had been warning of the global threat posed by viruses like it. Although COVID-19 vaccines should help to end the current coronavirus pandemic, it is unlikely to be the last.
Climate change, changes in land use, recreational activities and the trade of infected animals could make this fatal disease more commonplace.
Trying to control a pandemic can feel like being in a warzone, yet even as we fight COVID-19 we still need to keep one eye on the future and potential emerging pandemics. Dr Velislava Petrova, senior manager in vaccine policy and investment at Gavi, explains why.
Like many potentially pandemic diseases, Lassa fever is spread by a virus carried by animals – in this case, rats – and in West Africa where it is endemic, it can be as dangerous as Ebola or COVID-19.
A deadly cousin of Ebola, Marburg can kill nine out of ten people it infects, and international travel has taken it from Africa to Europe twice in the past 40 years. Will increasing globalisation make this virus more likely to erupt around the world?
In the 19th century, yellow fever had taken hold of parts of Europe and the USA, especially the Deep South, killing thousands. Now mostly in Africa and South America, this mosquito-borne disease could spread at any moment, threatening public health and economic security worldwide.
More than 100 years after the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, type A influenza virus not only poses one of the largest threats to the modern world, but the risk of spill-over of avian influenza from poultry to humans is growing.