I was reading this talk by Amesh Adalja back in 2018. Amesh was certainly correct that the most likely candidate of a GCBR pathogen would be a airbourne RNA-virus. But I saw this question and now I'm wondering if there are elaborate answers for this in the wider community.
"Question: How about things that may be dormant for a long time or asymptomatic for a long time, how does that kind of change the analysis of this stuff?"
It seems to me that Amesh recognised that a patheogen like HIV would be able to spread through the population and create a very different problem from the typical GCBR scenario, but he didn't get to elaborate on the possible responses to this (and I'm not quite sure why it matters that this doesn't fall into the GCBR definition nicely).
I wonder if there are other folks working on biosecurity and pandemics who have talked about this particular scenario, how it would likely work out, the relative risk, and what should be done to detect/control such an event, since it's definitely within the realm of possibility (HIV is one that has already given us plenty of trouble, and Amesh mentioned HLTV-1, which seems to be a possible candidate too).
This also brings me another question: are we in the clear about covid-19 yet?
There is no question that, with vaccination programs and previous infections, the majority of people now experience covid-19 as a relatively mild illness and make a full recovery with no noticeable issues. And if this is the whole picture, we should be able to handle covid-19 from now on like "just another illness" that doesn't threaten us with societal collapse anymore.
However, some people do develop serious health issues after the acute illness, and seemingly the virus is capable of staying in our body after recovery. So, what if covid-19 is capable of causing a more serious illness, months or years after a person recovered from the acute infection?
It is definitely not unheard of: HIV is a classical example, and even more "mundane" pathogens like measles, EBV, or herpes are fully capable of creating serious or even fatal illnesses after the acute infection in a (small) fraction of patients who made full recoveries from the acute illness.
If covid-19 is somehow capable of causing serious illness in a larger fraction of the population in the future, we could indeed face a challenge that could cause societal collapse (and mass casualties).
Do we currently know enough about covid-19 to rule out this possibility, or assign it a low enough "likelihood", that it would be more effective to put biosecurity resources on newer, emerging diseases, than to continue investing in covid-19 response? My main concern is that, we don't have any data about "how are people doing, 10 years after catching covid-19". And I'm not sure if there are any good "substitute" methodologies to gain information about this.
And maybe, this is something that should be watched out for whenever we encounter a novel pathogen?