Full Frame – The Next Pandemic

Full Frame – The Next Pandemic

[Music] [Music] this is cgtn china global television network despite progress being made toward vaccinating the world against the coronavirus the next big plague is coming are we ready for that new pandemic i’m mike walder in washington d.c let’s take it full frame [Music] knowing kovit’s origin can help us prepare for the next outbreak my thesis is that pandemics are not inevitable we should really really invest in preventing the next one because it’s not going to be another 100 years before it shows [Music] most experts agree its source was natural not one created in a lab there’s some remote possibility of that but that seems like the least likely origin story and the most likely origin story is something having to do with animals and humans interacting through agriculture most likely researchers are looking at bats as a possible source there is a 97 genetic agreement between a sars-like coronavirus that bats carry in yunnan with the human sars cove to virus that causes covid they are very very closely related but the origins of covid19 are still unclear before the chinese had figured out what the disease was it was already all over the world doctors don’t start to be surprised until they see a lot more cases right so yes probably started in wuhan but it could have been somewhere else where there were just a few cases forcing us to rethink our relationship with nature but the bottom line is we often don’t know the origins of diseases the next pandemic next [Music] [Music] every few years pathogens infect people around the globe there was sars in 2003 swine flu that came about in 2009 ebola that occurred in 2014 then zika arrived in 2016 and as we all know the world was ravaged in 2019 by covert so what’s next and is the world ready i talked with maureen miller an infectious disease epidemiologist at columbia university in new york city i met with maureen at the school’s barnard college for nearly 30 years he’s researched contagious viruses i started as an hiv prevention researcher so there’s a global pandemic right there and we don’t think of hiv necessarily as a pandemic and it’s certainly a different kind of pandemic than the one we’re experiencing right now because it’s a long slow process this one boom bounced around the world in really a matter of a month so this one works very differently than that one but still there are shared ideas in terms of how an epidemic how a pandemic works you probably saw this freight train coming and started to tell people early on but it’s hard to get across that point of view isn’t it people did not want to hear it at that time it just seems so unbelievable it’s like science fiction and interestingly the first people to reach out to me were hedge fund managers and multinationals and they said okay tell us the unvarnished truth we want to know really how long should we expect this to last and dead silence at the end of the phone because my my initial estimates were 18 months and i’m turning out to be wrong it’s going to be longer than that i thought by perhaps the end of this year we would be settled and parts of the united states will be settled by that time parts of europe will be settled by that time meanwhile we’ve already surpassed the number of deaths this year globally compared with 2020. so a lot of people are dying a lot of people are getting sick and a lot of people are not yet getting vaccinated or even have access to the vaccines give me a sense somebody who’s in your field who understands all of this and i think we’re starting to understand it even lay people like myself when did you first say to yourself man this is going to be huge uh beginning of january of 2020 when they said when it was announced to the world that there was a severe acute respiratory infection circulating boom that’s bad news already it means it’s airborne there were different areas where it was popping up it was sequenced in record time china does not do anything uh rashly this was a consolidated thoughtful action with the beginnings of a recognition that something really truly awful was happening it’s interesting i remember uh working in in wuhan’s shutdown this huge city so many people and i remember turning into colleagues and saying you could never see that in the united states and then we saw it here in the u.s i mean this concept of a lockdown did you kind of see that coming as well i saw the need for very serious and rapid action and i was disappointed not to see the seriousness of this virus addressed for quite some time were you also disappointed that scientists all of a sudden became vilified i mean that it became politicized of course of course of course because meanwhile we just chug along and do our work in the background and things happen or are under control they don’t get to above the radar so that everybody knows about it um and then the big chance when we know when we have information when we have some answers when we have the beginnings of a clue as to really how to deal with the situation then all of a sudden we’re the bad guys that was hard maureen is internationally recognized for her contributions to infectious disease research and policy she’s worked closely with international scientists including those in china to help prevent the next pandemic [Music] we’ve had ebola we’ve had murders we’ve had sars but we’ve never really i mean you go back to the flu epidemic in 1918 here in the united states which just coursed through the country two waves actually killed so many people but it was so far removed that people kind of felt like that’s just not going to happen and people in your field have been telling us over and over again and and we need to be cognizant that this could happen uh you know how difficult was it to be in your profession and keep telling people look this this could happen and then to have it actually happen and then as you said people ignoring the science yeah no i i yeah 100 years ago i mean we didn’t really as an epidemiologist i didn’t really know about the pandemic in 1918 until really the early 90s when people had started hey wait a second something horrible happened and you know i mean everybody has family stories where there’s holes or something or there was a lot of shifting of children that you know once we started talking about that pandemic it’s wait this was something really awful and we had never heard of it so i think from the 90s on infectious disease epidemiologists in particular really started to worry about it but the world health organization already knew that animal to human virus transmission was going to be a problem and could potentially cause pandemics in the future 70 years ago they set up a network of hospitals and laboratories to monitor the globe to catch at early stages some kind of pandemic threat and the zoonotic uh viruses uh are are more of a threat now aren’t they i mean we’re encroaching more on on the territory of these animals there’s the merging of both of us the potential is there right oh it’s happening faster and faster and faster and that’s a hallmark of the 21st century we’ve had already the sars pandemic of 2003 the huge regional ebola epidemic i mean those are unheard of in the 20th century so it’s only going to happen more and more quickly and cost us both in politics and in economics i mean if we have to shut down again it’s going to be horrible so i am trying with others to prevent the next pandemic from happening and i believe we have the tools to do that and curiously enough as people were getting vaccinated for cover 19 the next pandemic could actually the threats out there now right absolutely absolutely and we don’t have a clue right now real which which part of the world it’s going to come from what kind of virus it’s going to be as we’ve experienced with the with covet 19 respiratory viruses are the worst in terms of being able to move quickly around the globe now that we’re so interconnected so china and the rest of the world needs to cooperate in a positive way and there have been scientific relations um with the entire world and china since the 1970s it’s just now that things are getting even more complicated you say in a positive way but it seems to me that uh you know i’m trying to watch her for almost a decade now it seems like it’s very easy to vilify china and point fingers at china and china’s always seen through this negative lens in the west that’s not the best way to get cooperation and to get people working together i mean what suggestions would you make i absolutely agree that politics has made the relationship adversarial public health scientists however have worked collaboratively and would be working collaboratively right now if that was at all possible there was just a an article in the lancet of a a collaborative group from china and the united states saying look we work together really well we want to continue working this is scary stuff we want to not have a pandemic and we could prevent it [Music] as scientists look for the exact origin of the coronavirus one claim is that it originated in a chinese laboratory although several scientists around the world dispute that hypothesis including maureen you’ve worked with scientists in wuhan you’ve heard the theories that it was a lab leak that caused all of this you and i have been talking about zoonotic the jump from animal to humans what’s your sense of how we got to where we are today uh i think the reality is that most pandemics in human history have resulted from animal to human viral spillover i mean that’s just the nature of pandemics the idea that the virus which was first discovered in wuhan actually originated in mohan is unlikely there is a 97 genetic agreement between a sars-like coronavirus that bats carry in yunnan with the human sars cove ii virus that causes covid they are very very closely related but in evolutionary terms that’s pretty far apart yet this bat was found in yunnan there’s evidence that suggests that it may have been circulating in southern china in uh 2015 16 17. the virus that they were finding in wuhan was already two mutations away so it was farther away so there’s evidence that it was in southern china why was it discovered in wuhan because they have the scientific expertise to be able to identify that they have um shang li xi who is fondly known in china as the bat woman so there’s all this medical expertise it’s the scientific center of china you talked about dr xi she was quoted in the new york times because she’s been under a lot of attack about this and she said how on earth can i offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence it really is kind of difficult for the people who work in that lab to try and defend themselves when it’s just this accusation and yet you have a lot of people like yourself who say no it probably jumped from an animal to a human and most scientists also agree with that that idea that’s not published a lot in the media the there is a call to determine um to have an investigation at the woohound institute of virology i think that would be wise to be able to do that but honestly i don’t believe they would be able to find anything because the other theory is so much more likely and that’s the one that’s getting pushed aside right now that it was a zoonotic spillover from an animal to a human and in fact an international group of scientists suggest that yup it went through an intermediary animal but really where it got adapted was in human populations and it just moved and moved dead ended someplace an old person died of pneumonia in some remote area and didn’t transmit it to somebody else her son didn’t know he was infected and transmitted it to everybody else he worked with but nobody got sick i mean that’s exactly what’s happening now with the coronavirus so of course it is likely that it happened that way in china as well and then moved to wohan where it was discovered maureen believes one way to prevent outbreaks is to monitor people where disease spillover actually happens instead of waiting for sick people to show up at a hospital by the time people make it to the hospital is it already too late it’s too late i’m again it’s the influence and persistence of the doctor to convince authorities but even more than that uh it’s already there’s an outbreak an outbreak has already occurred people are sick people may be dying in a remote area so it takes a long time to get to a sentinel hospital like the one in wuhan so people were likely sick and dying long before it was found in wuhan do you think this is going to spark a new interest you think oh absolutely absolutely you’re already seeing it you think um i’ve you know you’re seeing it more in medical schools people want to be helpful and they’ve learned that the helping professions are really important but i think as science begins to dominate again more and more people are going to be inclined to become epidemiologists and you’ve always had a love for this has it heightened more because of the pandemic in a sense i’m bad i can’t resist a good epidemic i really can’t so i would say no i’m more horrified at what pandemics can really do having never lived through one but no i’m i’m a lifer i’m in i’m into this and i’m gonna stay working in this field and hopefully prevent the next one and while the next virus outbreak is likely already lurking maureen believes there is a simple strategy to prevent it so what’s the big concern right now i mean you’re talking about variants and we keep hearing that they keep mutating and changing and that’s the nature of a virus i guess what’s your greatest fear my greatest fear is that right now we have almost 8 billion people in the population back of the envelope figure at the outside 1 billion people have been infected or vaccinated that leaves seven billion more people for this virus to churn through i’m i worry that we’re going to get variants that um will evade the current vaccines that we have and that we may not be able to keep up that scares me that keeps me awake at night and it’s going to kill people a lot of people that didn’t have to die at this stage in the pandemic that’s that’s the answer we have so people wear masks people social distance and people get vaccinated those are the tools we have at hand and that’s scary my thesis is that pandemics are not inevitable we should really really invest in preventing the next one because it’s not going to be another 100 years before it shows up let me close with this question uh looking back on all of this uh and with the knowledge that you had going into this and and seeing just how scary this is going to be what’s your biggest fear now in terms of like us not getting it you know and when i say us i mean policy people and leaders uh and if they were to sit down with you and you were to give them like look here’s my my list of the five things you guys got to think about going forward what might that look like that list is put funds towards prevention there are all kinds of scientists around the world who are interested in prevention that’s why shang li was amenable to creating something so bizarre she had that she hadn’t even thought about it and antibody tests for humans based on a bad virus what you know so there are people who are very interested in never seeing this happen again who have the skills to make sure that it doesn’t happen again we are not funded so that’s number one and number two pandemics are not inevitable you have to do the right things i mean do you really want to prepare and respond and then have those that whole response just crumble to the ground because it’s overwhelming it is overwhelming the best cure to a pandemic is prevention it will always be the case it will always be the case that prevention is cheaper than allowing a disease to happen because the cost of disease is not just the disease itself it’s the impact that it has on economics on politics on human dread you know quite honestly um so yeah prevention is the cure it is the only cure and we do have to work together as a global community we’ll leave it there thanks so much okay great [Music] how can we prepare for the unknown after all how many of us predicted the coronavirus pandemic the challenge is to prepare for a future infectious disease threat that is unexpected or worse yet entirely unknown but the answer lies in the concept of international experts from diverse backgrounds coming together from scientific labs to remote caves it will take a global team to win the war on infection [Music] the streets of wuhan china were quiet during the coronal virus outbreak with a city under lockdown [Applause] [Music] [Music] is a top chinese virologist she heads a group that studies back coronaviruses at the wuhan institute of virology which has earned her the nickname batwoman in china [Music] many scientists believe the source of the copenhagen infection was a wild animal and are closely looking at bats [Music] [Music] bats rodents and other wild animals have a history of passing potentially deadly pathogens onto humans people don’t remember that hiv actually is a spillover event and most of the diseases that we have that surprise us take us by storm even cause epidemics and pandemics are those that spill over from animals the 2002 outbreak of sars and the 2013 ebola epidemic are both linked to bats a toddler from a remote village in guinea is believed to have been west africa’s first case of ebola we didn’t used to worry so much about ebola because we thought that’s something that happens in small villages and those people don’t leave there and it doesn’t really get out that was a a mistake we made right our own naivete allowed something terrible to happen in west africa because we didn’t expect it there as the world watched the ebola outbreak unfold doctors without borders we responded here yesterday we are following him very closely still having a lot of symptoms vomiting diarrhea but it’s not getting any worse for now so i’m still optimistic we have to change the perfusion but of course it’s not dropping fast enough dripping fast enough so it’s still there so i still need to go in to make it faster because otherwise it didn’t take the night thank you are you ready guys we can go [Music] this amount of liquid was supposed to be finished one hour ago so it’s going too slow you want to change the bed today we he had the complication because we did some laboratory tests we found some results that were not going very well so one of the symptoms of ebola of the science is a low amount of electrolytes in the blood and this child has low potassium that can lead very quickly to that so now we are really following the fluids very carefully because we are replacing potassium we are making shifts among doctors to go in quite regularly to pull up the condition of the kit and the perfusion to be sure that we are not putting in next day [Music] in the nebula context the number of children that you see dying it’s it’s heartbreaking it’s very difficult very difficult researchers have learned that by partnering with a strong efficient local effort during the early phase of an outbreak an epidemic could be prevented with the new setup that we have in the center it’s it’s the quality of care that we can provide is much better so we’re not physically in the high risk area but we have this flex class corridor we can be there we can give some advice to the our colleagues that are inside and we can really follow up the patients more closely can you give him some water thank you we can kind of follow up the patients over time and see if we need to adjust the treatment or if you’re doing well you see a child that is working like this to go out it’s a very good sign [Music] the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people one-fifth of the world’s population was attacked by the deadly virus one of the most chilling aspects of the influenza outbreak of 1918 was of course the realization that nobody knew what was killing them they had no identification of what this bug was people called it influenza but they didn’t know what it was how it was transmitted they had some ideas but really and modern medicine was really is it in its infancy even 100 years ago and the disease would come on very very quickly it uncharacteristically targeted young healthy adults [Music] the exact origin of the 1918 pandemic influenza is still not known it has been suggested that at about the same time an avian influenza virus had crossed the species barrier from birds to pigs and onto humans the birds here are used for education and they help us remember that we’re connected to all places around the world these birds can migrate thousands and thousands of miles and with them they can bring along things like avian influenza and things like that as they migrate [Music] because of the global movement of animals whether through natural migration as a food source or through the pet tray a wide variety of pathogens can be dispersed at an extraordinary rate your neighbor might have just come from all of these different places and inadvertently brought something with them our planet’s climate is changing and with those changes we have changes in things vectors the bugs frankly that carry some of these diseases and so where we didn’t used to have certain mosquitoes or other kinds of bugs that carried certain viruses we do have them again [Music] this is coming to your neighborhood i’m sorry to say but we can do something about it if we clear that fog we can do something about it we can be ready and we can jump into action quickly and we can save lives [Music] viruses like cova-19 can gradually evolve through mutations which means someone previously protected against one strain can’t effectively fight the mutated virus and they become sick when it comes to the flu virus scientists try to predict which changes are likely to occur they take a bit of the flu virus that the body will recognize and they inject those few proteins into the body the body mounts a response against the vaccine and then it’s ready when the real flu strikes the problem is that those proteins can change it’s a bit like this overcoat you’ve taught the body to recognize a brown overcoat but now the person is wearing a black overcoat and the body doesn’t recognize that as an as an intruder what scientists are trying to do is to manufacture a vaccine against a part of the flu virus that remains constant that would give us what’s called a universal flu vaccine so although the overcoat changes a lot there may be parts of the flu vaccine that are conserved from year to year and from strain to strain [Music] numerous variants of the virus that causes cova nitin are being tracked to check the efficacy of the vaccines that are currently available we can’t keep doing the same things over and over again we can’t keep responding to epidemics by flying in if there’s a vaccine bringing the vaccine after the epidemic is almost over we need to get in front of these problems and understand them better and we can’t do that if we don’t bring the animal groups together with the human health groups to say okay these things are living along bubbling along in their natural hosts not causing their hosts to be too sick but as we grow our human populations we push out into wild environments or we push into this situation where our urban environments are taking over huge areas and the animals have no no choice but to live with us we are starting to live in this close contact with them and if we don’t understand better across species and the environmental drivers that push things to be just a virus into being a disease we’re not going to ever change we’re just going to be responding after the fact to these horrible outbreaks [Music] [Music] we have an understanding of what’s out there we have dna and rna and we can understand the very makeup of the flu virus or the hiv virus we know how it reproduces we know what it looks like under an electron microscope but it’s still challenging for some for so many of these reasons to actually get on top of the disease and we’ve had some remarkable successes right so smallpox has been eradicated polio has been eradicated in most western countries and it is really a disease that we can we can vaccinate against we no longer see children dying from mumps and measles rubella has gone away and these are all great victories of modern medicine [Music] welcome back the world is gradually moving toward vaccinating against covet 19. but what about preventing the next pandemic how important is cooperation between china and the united states in getting ready even during the cold war the u.s and the soviet union cooperated in eradicating smallpox the two countries may have had their differences but they took a cooperative approach to disease prevention i talked with deborah seligson who teaches at villanova university in philadelphia about how these two countries could come together on global health good to see you i guess we do what this i met debra in philadelphia near villanova university where she’s an assistant professor of political science her research focuses on chinese politics and u.s china relations there’s a need to understand what’s going on in a country understand what the politics are understand what the domestic interests are that are pulling leaders in one way or another there’s a mistaken belief in the united states that oh it’s an autocracy so the leader decides everything and that’s not true it’s a big country with many people in the chinese communist party and quite a few in the pollock bureau and you have large state enterprises you have large provincial governors and other people who all have push and pull in different factions and so it’s it’s complex and you need to be paying attention to it because there is a politics there i i don’t actually think politics is deeply rooted in culture if it were we would all still be under monarchies right because we were 300 years ago but politics is politics and it’s very complicated in every single country and um you know just trying to understand the politics of a single large city in the united states would be a lifetime’s effort right so yes the fact that we lose track of what’s going on in china at the higher levels i mean there are a ton of people working in the state department and many other foreign affairs agencies within the u.s working on it every day and know a lot that can be shared but people at the top have only so much of an attention span and the us is trying to focus on the whole world whereas most countries in the world view the united states as one as their top issue and if not the top issue it’s definitely going to be within the top three so the attention is often asymmetrical i think but i think what i would recommend is it’s a difficult time with china and there are a lot of serious issues and those aren’t going to go away demra has worked for several years in china her research focus is on public health energy and environmental politics in both china and india she believes global cooperation on public health issues like hiv aids and cohort is vital a virus can be hanging around and and being spread without our knowledge for a lengthy period of time so we don’t even really know when this started or how it started right right and michael astorhome in his book and he’s like one of the foremost epidemiologists in the u.s says we still don’t really really know if aids came from chimps or monkeys or other apes so yeah i think people have a bunch of theories about the specific origins and yes that came 35 years or so after the disease was identified but also yes people think that um there was this disease in west africa that was called slim that was people with hiv aids because the other thing i think people don’t really understand is how exponential growth works right so one of the issues that happened in new york it happened in milan it’s happening in florida is that when the number of cases is low but rising you can suddenly see this huge this very rapid uptick but the thing that people forget is there’s often this slow slow slow growth before the curve starts to go this way that the slope of an exponential curve is kind of like that and so this long period of slow growth if you’re talking about a disease by like aids can be decades and decades right if you’re talking about a disease like covid it can still be weeks or months so we now know for example that kovid was in many places in the united states back in december right before the chinese had figured out what the disease was it was already all over the world and that isn’t surprising because when you have a few cases it looks like pneumonia um and for mostly it’s elderly people going to the hospital doctors don’t start to be surprised until they see a lot more cases right so yes probably started in wuhan but it could have been somewhere else where there were just a few cases it’s very hard to know but i want to get your thoughts about this theory that it’s man-made i follow what the virologists say i’ve read the peer-reviewed papers and i think that’s a more useful way to think about this and the basic framework hasn’t really changed since the big paper in nature last march that’s been cited now thousands if not tens of thousands of times that sort of says yeah there’s some remote possibility of that but that seems like the least likely origin story and the most likely origin story is something having to do with animals and humans interacting um through agriculture most likely so as far as i can tell none of the actual sort of experts on this the virologists the evolutionary virologists the people who look at this kind of stuff specifically have seen new information that changes their mind they all want more information to figure out the origins but the bottom line is we often don’t know the origins of diseases that’s actually quite common we still don’t really know where ebola comes from and whether we can treat it whether we can prevent it is not that related to whether we know the origin the reason we really want to know the origin is in thinking about the next pandemic and while covet 19 is still raging researchers believe global cooperation is needed to prevent the next pandemic [Music] but with scrutiny over kovid’s origins some experts say it’s a distraction from the real work that needs to be done of course we’re talking about the current pandemic but the next pandemic is just around the corner i mean we know that when it happens we don’t know but we do know that there’ll be another global cooperation is going to be key to that um these accusations can impede that i know you’ve you worked in the state department you know about diplomacy you know how words can kind of inflame things what are your concerns about this well so i think the us and china absolutely have to work together um both to get this pandemic actually under control right to vaccinate the world and to do the kind of monitoring that we actually need for the next pandemic and what’s particularly surprising about how badly we’re doing cooperation right now is that we have this long history of doing it well so the us and china collaborated to develop china’s influenza surveillance capacity so many epidemiologists still think that the most likely really catastrophic pandemic perhaps more catastrophic than covid is still likely to be an influenza pandemic and with influenza we worked with the chinese to really help them set up nationwide um surveillance where they collect samples every year and analyze them and send the data to the who and a pretty large percentage of the information that the who uses each year to figure out what should be in the annual flu vaccine actually comes from this chinese surveillance because you have this enormous country with so many people so many chickens ducks pigs that it it just is going to be where a lot of influenzas new influenzas arise not all of them h1n1 arose in north america but an awful lot of new um variants so that’s kind of a history that we have where we really do work together well and we need to be doing that for coronaviruses we’ve had three new coronaviruses in the 21st century stars mers and covid and there’s no reason to think that’s going to be the last of them um many people say oh the worst one is going to be the one that kills the most people but the truth is when things have the fatality rate of a stars or mers people very rapidly go into their houses and stay away from each other because they’re so terrified kovad actually hit this weird i mean for a virus a sweet spot not for us so sweet where the fatality rate is still awful but it’s low enough that a lot of people keep saying well it won’t happen to me and of course it um transmits before you have any symptoms the asymptomatic transmission which was not true of sars or mers and which is true of influenza so we absolutely have to be working with the chinese on better surveillance to prepare for the next one we still don’t have good antivirals to deal with coronaviruses we don’t yet have a universal influenza vaccine which we need to prepare for an influenza pandemic so there’s a lot of work to be done a lot of great scientists in both countries and we really need them to be working together in 2002 a novel coronavirus was silently causing deadly pneumonia outbreaks which later became known as sars in china it would infect more than 8 000 people globally and led to nearly 800 deaths deborah what i find unique about you when you talk to people they can tell you about kova 19 but you lived through sars in china and now kova 19. compare the two for me i do think the fact that the chinese had lived through sars i mean it’s become very obvious the chinese the south koreans the vietnamese the thai countries that had lived through an outbreak of stars or mers did much better in the early stages of the pandemic than countries who hadn’t right that the citizens were prepared they put on their masks they started washing their hands frenetically they they were very accommodating of social distancing rules they were prepared to have the kids sent home from school all of this was not a surprise to them and they responded very well and i think experience was the huge difference in the united states i think we always assume that there’s just going to be a medicine that’s going to get us out of our problems and to this day people just assume if i get sick there’s some good cure and even though the treatments are way way better than they were a year and a half ago they’re not great and no one should want to get coved and of course we have a great vaccine so people should be using it i will say vaccine hesitancy is also something that exists in both countries that isn’t unique to the united states both china and the u.s have worked together on the global issue of climate change in 2014 the u.s announced it would share research experience and information jointly with china to contribute to the paris climate change agreement [Music] but you’ve seen firsthand cooperation between these two countries i mean it really kind of pushed things across the finish line in paris when it comes to climate i know that’s that’s something you care passionately about so you can see when these two countries work together it can have a positive impact so give me your experience from paris the takeaways and and how you might extrapolate that out given covid well what’s really interesting is um secretary kerry has been very upfront saying you know we’re going to treat climate change separately because it’s a global problem and therefore we have to work with china regardless of these other issues in his role now as the special negotiator and i’ve been disappointed that we simply haven’t said the same thing for covid and public health it seems to me the issues are quite similar and that we clearly need a global solution no one is safe till everybody is safe right and you can be someone who never travels around the world and yet you are vulnerable to anyone traveling anywhere so that hasn’t happened and that’s been a disappointment but what i would say is in the past science cooperation has been one of the sort of cornerstones of the relationship it began earlier almost than anything else pretty much immediately after the original ping pong diplomacy of the early 70s u.s government started sending scientific missions to china to look at what could be done together and public health was very rapidly identified as an area where we could really work together and that was in significant part because of this idea that we need to be um working together everywhere to protect the world but also because um the chinese actually had a lot of capacity to do things like collect data on outcomes from large groups of people it’s a big country with lots of people and lots of doctors to collect data and so things like preventing birth defects one of the most important studies ever done was done in china way back in the 1980s and we huge heart disease studies diabetes studies we’ve been working with the chinese on health issues pretty much continuously i think one of the problems of the last few years has been that the us really has stopped recognizing uh the importance of that there was a real sort of pullback of interest in this kind of thing during the trump administration there also was a lack of understanding that while the previous relationship had been very much a student-teacher relationship with the u.s coming in with all this expertise all this equipment chinese now come to a u.s lab and say wow your equipment is older than ours what what is it you have to offer and bear depending on the um field and the subfield and the sub subfield maybe the learning has to go in the other direction or maybe you’re collaborating among peers but we come collaborate among peers all over the world right we collaborate with europeans with japanese with koreans with folks in south africa or in brazil or wherever and what we need to do is establish a new kind of peer relationship but i so i think one of the problems has been that in the united states there was this view that china was just sort of this giant sponge learning stuff and then that led to all this paranoia about intellectual property loss and all kinds of things like that in the covid case it led to us offering to help them with things that we should have known they already knew how to do you know they needed this help during sars but it was 17 years later and things were different so i think there’s both um an assumption that all china is doing is taking which isn’t true and also this is total misunderstanding of where the forms of cooperation can actually be beneficial and on the chinese side because the relationship was framed as this teacher-student relationship now that they no longer are the students i think people may not see what the advantages are of global cooperation of what the interchange with colleagues actually would be and some sense especially on the government part that maybe we can just turn inward and don’t need to share information but the incredible speed of scientific advance in the 20th and 21st centuries is because we do share globally and scientists communicate in such a global scientific network and so that would be a real shame and i really do hope that the two countries can learn to reframe and rethink how the relationship has to be going forward and what i can tell you is talking to people doing health on the ground in china they want the relationship to continue they’re still very open the scientists whether in the china cdc or in academic institutions and i hope the biden administration you know starts to become aware of that and do some outreach because there’s real interest in china and they know the problems that we still have looking for the next pandemic coming up with some antivirals that are much more effective for whatever new viral outbreak comes out you know it’s always going to take a little while to come up with a vaccine you need to have treatments at the ready for people who get sick and that’s an area where the science still has a lot to do and everyone in the world should be working together terrific debler thanks so much you’re welcome [Music] that’s this edition of full frame our thanks to maureen miller and deborah seligson for their perspectives on the next pandemic if you know other visionaries you’d like to see on our show email us at full frame cgtnamerica.com or tweet us your ideas at full frame cgtn from all of us on full frame thanks so much for watching [Music] [Music] you
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Full Frame - The Next Pandemic

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