To Prevent the Next Pandemic, Follow the Science
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role of evidence-based policies in addressing global health crises. It has also highlighted the need for flexible strategies, equitable health care, and multidisciplinary approaches that bridge the gap between science and policy and improve scientific literacy.
BRUSSELS – Science is crucial to improving pandemic preparedness and prevention. It not only deepens our understanding of pathogen transmission and containment but also provides us with the flexibility required to adapt to changing circumstances. Relying on scientific evidence enables us to contain risks at the local level, minimize the delay between early warning and action, ensure the effectiveness and reliability of control measures, and expedite the development and deployment of safe treatments, thereby safeguarding public health.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the critical role of science-based policies in addressing global health crises. It taught us the importance of establishing robust early warning systems, basing decisions on data, and fostering multidisciplinary collaboration. It has also highlighted the need for flexible strategies, equitable health care, widespread vaccination access, and mental health support.
Trust in science and expertise has been and remains vital for implementing effective control measures. Policymakers must heed the lessons of COVID-19 and focus on building resilience and fostering international cooperation in preparation for future pandemics while maintaining public confidence in science and experts through clear communication. Recognizing social, economic, and geopolitical contexts has proven to be just as essential to the management of public-health crises as understanding biological factors. Therefore, adopting a holistic approach that aligns with the One Health approach is critical to devising preventive policies.