On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, Professor George F. Gao, the Director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the professor of Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Sciences, was invited to write a commentary for the world's top academic journal "Cell" to review and anticipate the effects of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in the world and countermeasures to them.
The commentary entitled “From "A"IV to "Z"IKV: Attacks from Emerging and Re-emerging Pathogens” was published on March 8, 2018. This paper makes a historical review of the emerging and re-emerging pathogens outbreaks and the achievements that we have got.
Professor Gao said “To fully understand viral pathogenesis and develop effective medical countermeasures, we must strengthen current surveillance and basic research efforts.” He called on the scientists, clinicians, and public health experts from around the world to work together to deal with the emerging and re-emerging pathogens.
He also emphasized the strategic deployment of the Global Virome Project (GVP) for virus hunting worldwide and the establishment of a CDC network in Africa, which will contribute to a worldwide system and greatly improve our capacity for surveillance.
In addition, Professor Gao gave high marks to the innovative global funding projects such as the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and the Coalition for Epidemic Prevention and Innovation (CEPI). He also pointed out that robust investment into basic research should be encouraged to achieve a fully multi-faceted approach to combating future pandemics.
Professor Deyin Guo, the director of the Committee on Virology of the Chinese Society for Microbiology (CSM) commented this commentary: “This commentary not only contains rich information and a prominent focus, but also has a broad field of vision. The content is well-conceived, and the title ‘From A (bird flu) to Z (zika)’ has great meanings. It not only shows the diversity and complexity of the novel pathogens but also expresses our wishes to overcome the pathogens at last. The commentary firstly focused on the causes, hazards, and the prevention and control measures of the influenza viruses currently circulating, followed by the history and current situation of SARS, MERS, Ebola virus, and Zika virus in turn. For the prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging viruses, it is important to take measures such as the closure of live poultry markets, the application of new technologies (such as high-throughput genome sequencing), worldwide cooperation, early detection and continuous monitoring, and strengthening basic research in particular. The commentary also mentioned that China had established an effective pathogen monitoring and control system after SARS. This article is very useful for the relevant personnel and departments engaged in etiological research and the prevention and control of infectious disease in China.”
Work in Prof. Gao’s laboratory is partly supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDPB03) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, grant no. 81621091).