Our Shared Vulnerability to Dangerous Pathogens

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The international community vastly underestimates the risk and scale of our shared vulnerability to fast moving pathogens. Ranging from SARS and novel influenzas to Ebola and Zika, the world seems to be caught off guard, despite the regularity of global health threats historically. More importantly, when governments and international institutions underestimate the threat, they also underinvest in preparedness. Failure to prepare has deep costs in human lives and economic productivity. Here, I offer a pathway to preparedness for, and rapid response to, infectious disease threats: robust and resilient national health systems; strong institutions capable of leading, particularly the World Health Organization; and investments in research and development. Overall, the world needs a strong system of laws and governance, ranging from the International Health Regulations through to norms of transparency and accountability. To secure our common future, the world needs sustained investment and leadership. I propose a 'security dividend', both financial and institutional, to remake the global health security system.

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0 Med. L. Rev. 1-15 (2017)