“The difficulty of predicting precisely doesn’t oblige us to remain blind, unprepared, and fatalistic about emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases. No. The practical alternative to soothsaying is “improving the scientific basis to improve readiness.

The scientific basis” means the understanding of which virus groups to watch, the field capabilities to detect spillovers in remote places before they become regional outbreaks, the organizational capacities to control outbreaks before they become pandemics, plus the laboratory tools and skills to recognize known viruses speedily, to characterize new viruses almost as fast, and to create vaccines and therapies without much delay.

If we can’t predict a forthcoming influenza pandemic or any other newly emergent virus, we can at least be vigilant; we can be well-prepared and quick to respond; we can be ingenious and scientifically sophisticated in the forms of our response.”

— Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen a.co/aiWEQrb