Scientists have estimated the cost of stopping 11 diseases that could kill millions in a pandemic

Source(s): Vox Media Inc.

By Abigail Higgins


Thanks to Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations' research, we now know the minimum cost of developing at least one vaccine for each of the 11 diseases experts have highlighted as pandemic risks: $2.8 billion to $3.7 billion. That sounds expensive, but so are pandemics: The 2003 SARS outbreak in East Asia cost $54 billion. Moreover, if early development prevents us from experiencing another Spanish flu, which killed nearly one of out of every 20 people in 1918, then it’s actually a bargain.

The risks of a global pandemic may seem remote but it’s no lower now than it was 100 years ago, writes Klain. While advances in modern medicine, like antibiotics, protect us from disease, other realities of modern life don’t.


“Global transportation networks can bring a virus from a remote corner of the world to one of its most populous cities in less than 24 hours. The clustering of more people into cities — especially supercities in Asia — creates fertile grounds for such diseases to spread quickly,” says [writer Ron Klain]. Climate change also means mosquitos are reaching new populations, and growing antibiotic resistance threatens to reverse public health gains.


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