Manual para pandemias

Varias veces al año el mundo se ve obligado a recordar que la amenaza de una pandemia es inminente. En 2003, fue el síndrome respiratorio agudo y grave (SARS). Hoy es un posible virus aviario similar al que mató a 30 millones de personas después de 1914.

La "gripe de las aves" ya ha demostrado que puede saltar de las aves de corral a los seres humanos, y ahora a los gatos incluso, lo que indica que podría ser la nueva enfermedad mundial y mortífera, pero hay muchas otras posibles pandemias y muchas de ellas ni siquiera son provocadas por virus. Bacterias, priones, parásitos e incluso factores medioambientales podrían cambiar de repente y volverse mortíferos para nosotros. Está generalizada la predicción de que, cuando así sea, las pérdidas económicas y humanas excederán las de todas las guerras anteriores.

De hecho, resulta una lección de humildad recordar que algunas de las invasiones más mortíferas de la Historia fueron obra de organismos unicelulares, como el cólera, la peste bubónica y la tuberculosis. Los países que cuentan con recursos para ello están preparando planes de resistencia contra las pandemias: estrategias limitadas que protegerían a sus ciudadanos. La mayoría de los gobiernos esperan que la detección temprana posibilite la contención.

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  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

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