Richard Williamson of explains how we can look to the end of great urban fires to understand how we can end pandemics. 

He identifies 4 analogous projects:

  • Active protection: Just as we have different extinguishers for different types of fires, we need to be developing vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for each family of viruses
  • Detection: Just as we have smoke detectors in every home, we need to detect pandemic early. 
  • Passive protection: Just as we prevent the spread of fires through sprinkler systems and construction regulations, we need more advance filters, better PPE, and eventually UV lighting, to prevent the spread of disease. 
  • Prevention: Just as we teach humans to avoid starting fires and create rules and laws to discourage risky behavior, we need to create rules to stop zoonotic transmission, lab leaks, and gain of function research. 

Even if you're familiar with these proposals, Richard's piece is able to tie them together in a brilliant way and actually make the end of pandemic seem possible. It's also a great introduction to long term pandemic prevention, so it may be the perfect resource to share with a friend who is new to the space. 




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Great article, thanks for sharing!