It will cost $260 billion to help prevent a new pandemic, scientists say

As the world continues to search for a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19, scientists are already planning on how to prevent the next pandemic. Researchers warn that the cost of preventing the next outbreak will require quite a bit of funding, to the tune of $22.2 billion to $30.7 billion every year, NBC News reports. That is funding that we currently do not have in place, especially since the researchers estimate a required $260 billion over 10 years.

The cost is based on how much it will take to protect forests and monitor wildlife trade. Wildlife trade is where the novel coronavirus is said to have been allowed to foster and spread and is also where a majority of zoonotic outbreaks originate from. The research conducted by the scientists was published in the journal Science.

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Everybody has a vested interest in stopping it from happening again. If you’re worried about safety and protection, the cost of doing this is less than 2 percent of the military spending by the top 10 militarized countries in the world.

Andrew Dobson, lead author

The report goes on to mention the amount needed to prevent another pandemic. Spending about $260 billion over the next 10 years will significantly reduce the risk of another pandemic. Though the amount seems staggering, it is only about 2% of the estimated $11.5 trillion in global economic losses that the world suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dobson also mentions that investment genetic research of viruses is required in order to make it easier to develop drugs and vaccines for new diseases.

Most of the efforts will have to go into regulating wildlife trade, disease surveillance, and ending wild meat trade in China (which would cost an estimated 19.4 billion). The researchers also say that there is a clear link between COVID-19 and deforestation, as bats are the likely origins for SARS, COVID-19, and Ebola.

It’s naive to think of the Covid-19 pandemic as a once in a century event. As with anything we’re doing to the environment, they’re coming faster and faster, just like climate change.

Andrew Dobson, lead author

Dobson goes on to say that wildlife trade is a very corrupt market, with politicians having no incentive to end it due to the personal benefits they may receive. The research also further finds that wildlife enforcement bodies are underfunded, making them almost useless. The annual budget for the south-east Asia enforcement network and global wildlife trade body Cities are a measly $30,000 and $6 million respectively. That’s not even close to the amount required.

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To conclude, the world needs to come together and bear the cost of preventing a new pandemic. The economy of the entire planet has been deeply affected, and the scars of this wound of a pandemic are expected to last for the rest of the decade.

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