Learn from COVID: Gates’s pandemic prescription

Matthew M. Kavanagh in Nature:

The COVID-19 pandemic was foreseen. Experts everywhere had long predicted a global viral outbreak and called for action to prevent it. World leaders, on the whole, did little. Now, with COVID-19 still raging, Bill Gates has produced a manifesto on what must be done to prevent the next pandemic. Written in accessible prose that even a busy world leader could not fail to grasp, the global-health philanthropist offers some life-saving ideas that are ambitious and achievable — if political leaders act.

“Learn from COVID” is the opening gambit. One of the book’s most important insights is how often the world’s wealthiest countries got things wrong that less well-resourced countries and communities got right. Vietnam ran outbreak simulations — something that most of Europe never did. Gates shares the example of a Vietnamese simulation that sent patient-actors into emergency rooms in the northeast of the country to test whether fictionalized cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome would be detected and correctly diagnosed. This exercise revealed gaps in sharing information about potential outbreaks, and the authorities fixed them.

More here.