World must prepare for inevitable next flu pandemic, WHO says

Maricruz Casares
Марта 13, 2019

Speaking at the launch of the World Health Organization's new global influenza strategy Martin Friede, co-ordinator of immunisation, vaccines and biologicals at the WHO said that although the world is in better shape to combat a flu pandemic than ever before it is still "not prepared enough". "We must be vigilant and prepared - the cost of a major influenza outbreak will far outweigh the price of prevention".

Another flu pandemic is inevitable and the world must prepare for potential devastation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, warning that the risks must not be underestimated.

The strategy World Health Organization is rolling out aims to prevent a pandemic from gaining hold by helping countries strengthen their surveillance systems and by developing better global tools for the prevention and control of influenza.

"The question is not if we will have another pandemic, but when", said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.

To reach such an ambitious target, Ghebreyesus highlights worldwide cooperation as paramount to the success of the strategy, in order to avoid a repeat of the H1N1 (Swine flu) pandemic of 2009 and 2010.

It also focuses on the development of improved vaccines, antivirals, and treatments to distribute worldwide.

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The new strategy called for every country to strengthen routine health programmes and to develop tailor-made influenza programmes that strengthen disease surveillance, response, prevention, control, and preparedness.

Vaccines can help prevent some cases, and the WHO recommends annual vaccination - especially for people working in health care and for vulnerable people such as the old, the very young and people with underlying illness.

Due to its mutating strains, vaccine formulas must be regularly updated and only offer limited protection now.

In 2011, states got together and approved the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.Currently, 400 million doses of vaccine could be made available for distribution among countries under this plan in case of a pandemic.Unfortunately, this is not enough to help everyone.

Flu viruses are multiple and ever-changing, and they infect around a billion people every year around the world in seasonal outbreaks.

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