Experts opinion series

What important lesson should we have learned from this pandemic for future pandemics?


There's no doubt that the COVID-19 epidemic has been a disaster, and, of course, with many people dying, and there's no way that one can be happy about that. But from the point of view of knowledge we have learned a great deal about the immunology not only of this disease, but about immunity and vaccines in general. So, this is a disaster, but we are and we should be trying to make the most of this disaster to learn how to deal with future pandemics. One of the things that I am proud of is having proposed with Jeremy Farrar and Adele Mahmoud in 2015 of an organization to develop vaccines against potential epidemic threats. Because we all know that disease X, so-called, will occur, and in this case, of course, the disease X was COVID. But that organization, as you know, is now called CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), and it is doing just what we hope – that is, developing vaccines for diseases that could become pandemic, so that we have something prepared in advance to deal with the future.