Had enough of Covid? No worries! According to a Gates-funded international organization, there will be more available in the future.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) identified 11 viruses that have the potential to cause the “next pandemic.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the first to devastate the world and it won’t be the last. In a new series, we round up emerging infectious threats that have the potential to erupt into global pandemics,” the organization wrote on its website.
According to Iffim, GAVI is an international organization created in 2000 – a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the purpose of ‘saving lives and protecting people’s health by increasing the use of vaccines in an equitable and sustainable manner.’
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a founding partner of GAVI, has pledged a total of 4.1 billion dollars to the organization so far.
“At the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced USD 1.6 billion for GAVI’s next 2021-2025 strategic period,” GAVI announced. “In addition to this funding, the Foundation pledged USD 150 million in support of GAVI’s COVAX AMC to ensure equitable access to vaccines for AMC-eligible economies.”
Now, GAVI is listing viruses that have the potential to erupt into global pandemics, as first mentioned in Chief Nerd’s Telegram.
Below is the list of viruses mentioned on GAVI’s website:
- Rift Valley fever – The risk of a pandemic from a disease that affects farm animals may seem low, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classed Rift Valley fever as a category A bioterrorism agent because of its potential to devastate large-scale agricultural economies and cause social disruption.
- Hantavirus – The long incubation period combined with the emergence of New World species causing HPS means that hantaviruses are becoming an increasing concern.
- Another coronavirus – Although the development of COVID-19 vaccines may help to end the current COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing high rates of infection in many countries could lead to the emergence of further variants capable of evading vaccine-induced immunity. This could mean people continue to develop COVID-19.
- Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever – The wide geographic spread of the hard-bodied Hyalommamarginatum ticks that carry the CCHF virus, and its persistent circulation, means the risk of spill-over from animals to humans is high. Factors such as climate change and the movement of livestock or wild animals may further increase its geographic spread.
- Lassa fever – The combination of a long incubation time and the fact that four in five people who become infected with the Lassa virus have no symptoms means the disease can spread easily through international travel.
- Marburg – As Marburg virus can spread from human to human through contact with bodily fluids, much like Ebola. As outbreaks in Europe and the US have already shown, increasing globalization and international travel means that the risk for global spread is high, especially when the incubation period could be up to three weeks. This could be disastrous given its high death rate.
- Yellow fever – So far, yellow fever has never been reported in Asia or the Western Pacific but, as Aedes aegypti is endemic in these regions, it would only take a few introductions by people traveling from Africa or South America for the virus to spread rapidly.
- H5N1 and H7N9 influenza – Since the Spanish flu, there have been three pandemics – H2N2 in 1956-7, H3N2 in 1968 and H1N1 in 2009 – and before COVID-19 it was widely assumed that the next pandemic would be caused by influenza. The risk is high particularly with two subtypes, H5N1 and H7N9.
- Chikungunya – Chikungunya has already been a pandemic, albeit one that didn’t affect the Global North. In 2004, a large outbreak in Kenya spilled out into the islands of the Indian Ocean and Asia and led to a pandemic that spanned several years and had more than a million cases. This means there is a growing possibility we could see another pandemic.
- Ebola – if the virus mutates in ways that allow it to spread via respiratory droplets, as COVID-19 does, that would increase the potential for it to spread more easily and become a pandemic threat.
- Nipah virus – The disease is also so deadly that many governments classify it as a bioterrorism threat and limit the laboratories that are allowed to culture and study it.
If you’re curious about who the other partners are, have a look below:
We reported last year Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates called for a “global alert system” and “pandemic fire squad” for the “next pandemic.”
“When it comes to preventing pandemics, scientific tools alone aren’t enough. We also need new capabilities, including a global alert system and infectious disease first responders, or what I like to call a pandemic fire squad,” Bill Gates said.
And early this year, Bill Gates issued another warning of potential pandemics far worse than COVID-19 and called on “governments to contribute billions to tackle future pathogens and increase vaccine supplies.”