Pandemics pose an immense threat to global social and economic security. The SARS epidemic of 2003 shocked the world. Spreading from mainland China to all corners of the globe in a matter of weeks, SARS demonstrated how infectious viral diseases are truly an international problem. The epidemic cost the world an estimated US$300 billion and served as a forewarning of the disastrous effects a more serious pandemic could cause.
Most experts agree that it is a question of when, not if, the next pandemic will occur. It has been sixteen years and now (2019/20) the next pandemic is upon us – SARS-CoV-2 is already far worse that the 2003 SARS pandemic.
Although it is impossible to predict the severity of the next pandemic, estimates range from 2 million to over 300 million deaths worldwide. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has already(October 2020) caused more than a million deaths worldwide. The economic effects of pandemics are equally devastating: borders close, trade and tourism grinds to a halt, and just-in-time supply chains are severely disrupted.
As pandemics are not isolated events—they span the globe and can last for months—acute shortages of even the most basic goods occur. A pandemic also places enormous strain on healthcare systems, overloading hospitals and healthcare professionals in even the most developed countries.
With weaker health systems and denser populations, the developing world is a critical front in the battle to contain pandemics. As such, it is essential that solutions are available and accessible to all, both as prophylaxes and as therapies to stem massive mortality.