Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's COVID-19 technical lead, is worried "not enough is happening" around the globe to enhance infectious disease surveillance and implement other tactics that could prevent the next serious outbreak of a dangerous pathogen, she told Stat News in an interview about the WHO's forthcoming Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens.
"I see some work in this area," Van Kerkhove said, noting that "there are a lot of calls for better surveillance in animal populations, there's a huge effort to increase sequencing capacity worldwide." But, even though she believes "we're better prepared than we were a year ago to" to face future public health crises, she doesn't think the efforts to bolster the arsenal against them are moving "fast enough."
"Preparedness and readiness is a constant," she told Stat. "It's not something that starts and stops. And I fear that we won't use this traumatic experience we're all in now to do enough ... I fear that we'll move on to the next crisis, because there are plenty more, before we're in a better position here." Read Van Kerkhove's full interview at Stat News.