China to make proactive preparations for future pandemics: health official-Xinhua

China to make proactive preparations for future pandemics: health official

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-09 21:25:15

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China will draw on the experience of COVID-19 prevention and control, and make proactive preparations for future pandemics such as "Disease X," which the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned could be a next global public health threat, said a health official on Saturday.

Wang Hesheng, chief of the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration, told a press conference that China will firmly maintain a worst-scenario thinking, refine the mechanism for switching between routine and emergency responses, enhance its multi-channel monitoring and early warning system, and promote forward-looking research on infectious diseases to strengthen preparedness for future pandemics.

In response to a question related to "Disease X," Wang said this yet-to-come epidemic caused by a hypothetical, unknown pathogen has aroused great concerns globally due to its deadly nature, quick spread, mutation ability and huge uncertainties.

It will present unpredictable challenges and pose a growing pandemic risk due to climate change, expansion of human activities, and cross-species pathogen transmission, according to the official.

"Although the occurrence of 'Disease X' pathogen is difficult to avoid, there will be ways to contain the potential pandemics resulting from it," he said.

China will actively participate in global public health governance, promote cooperation with international organizations such as the WHO, and other countries, and actively participate in the formulation of a pandemic-themed convention, Wang said.

He also noted that the prevention and control of infectious diseases in China has achieved remarkable results.

The country has eliminated a series of infectious diseases, with malaria in 2021 as the latest one. Preventable infectious diseases, such as meningitis, have dropped to historically low levels, Wang said.

In addition, several major infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and schistosomiasis, have been controlled effectively.

The transmission of HIV/AIDS through blood transfusion and blood products has been essentially blocked, and mother-to-child transmission and transmission through drug injection have reached historical lows, said Wang.

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