There are worse viruses than COVID-19 out there. How do we avoid the next big one?

Widespread immunity eventually will end the Covid-19 crisis. But it won’t end wildlife-related pandemics. What can we do now to reduce future risk?

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Photo © iStockphoto.com | Charoenchai Tothaisong

Scientists agree that more viruses capable of causing a global pandemic will emerge.

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Diagnostic tests like the ones currently being used to screen for Covid-19 could be used to systematically screen for novel infection. Photo courtesy of Raimond Spekking from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

“We all have a stake in preventing pandemics, and the problems can’t be solved by any one country. So we should solve them together, as we have nuclear weapons.” — David Morens

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One way to reduce the threat of pandemics is to factor the cost into land use decisions, since activities such as deforestation can enhance the chance that disease organisms will move from wildlife to humans. Photo courtesy of Axel Fassio/CIFOR from Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Covid-19 has revealed the true cost of our destruction of biodiversity.

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Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet.

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