By Raman Singh, CEO, Mundipharma
New diseases are always on the rise with bacteria and viruses becoming more deadly and infectious than ever before. Over the course of the past few years, the world has experienced outbreaks such as the Zika virus, Ebola and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which rapidly spread across ill-prepared continents and countries.
This was a point of discussion at the ‘Are You Ready for the Next Pandemic?’ session I attended at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, taking place in Davos this week. The session touched on how many of these viruses remain a threat, which makes it incredibly important to maintain public health measures such as infection control and prevention, as well as implementing strategies to prevent further spread of disease.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Technology is advancing, and emerging platforms, medicines and vaccines are being developed and available to help stop infectious diseases spreading out of control. Innovation and R&D play an important role here – this year, we are opening a global R&D centre in Singapore, which will aim to discover cures for new infectious diseases and is being equipped to respond to outbreaks.
Another way we can combat these threats is through the public-private partnership – both sectors working together to improve resilience to disease. It is beneficial for health authorities and healthcare companies to set up educational initiatives that can help counter future threats. For example, in Singapore, Mundipharma has been working with the health agencies on public health initiatives.
We all need to do more to prepare and create a roadmap for better response and preparation. This is one of the main reasons I’m at the Annual Meeting this year, to talk to peers, experts and innovators in the sector who will join the fight in preventing the next epidemic.