Intended for healthcare professionals

Covid-19 preparedness and response: Implications for future pandemics

Covid-19 put every country and the global health system to the test. Responses came in the context of diverse and complex political and social systems. What were the factors that led to success, or failure?

This collection comprises unparalleled analyses of 28 high, middle and low-income country responses to covid-19 and draws on the work and analysis of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Based on real-world experience, the collection provides policymakers with a road map to prepare for the next health threat, including whole-of-society approaches, treating pandemic tools as a global commons, and ensuring equity, communities and human rights are central to preparing for and responding to the next threat.


Editorial

Ending this pandemic and securing the future
Act quickly and collectively to transform global systems for preparedness and response

Analysis

Resetting international systems for pandemic preparedness and response
Sudhvir Singh and colleagues summarise the recommendations of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response to try to prevent future pandemics

From response to transformation: how countries can strengthen national pandemic preparedness and response systems
Victoria Haldane and colleagues delve into the characteristics of national responses to covid-19. They suggest actionable steps at a national level that can guide states to achieve the independent panel’s recommendations for making this the last pandemic

Aggressive containment, suppression, and mitigation of covid-19: lessons learnt from eight countries
Shishi Wu and colleagues examine three distinct response strategies for covid-19 in eight countries and argue that aggressive containment is the optimal approach to limiting loss of lives and livelihoods and achievable in the absence of vaccines and effective therapies

Strengthening the basics: public health responses to prevent the next pandemic
Victoria Haldane and colleagues argue that to make covid-19 the last pandemic, public health responses to outbreaks must be strengthened, starting with their most basic functions

Vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for covid-19: redesigning systems to improve pandemic response
Rohit Ramchandani and colleagues propose a framework to ensure essential public health tools are fairly distributed in future pandemics

Investing in trust and community resilience: lessons from the early months of the first digital pandemic
Salma M Abdalla and colleagues examine how an atmosphere of misinformation, disinformation, and erosion of trust shaped the early response to covid-19 on both global and national levels

Assessing the role of qualitative factors in pandemic responses
Melisa Tan and colleagues argue that assessments of national pandemic preparedness and response capacities should be extended to include social factors, leadership, and use of evidence

From dichotomisation towards intersectionality in addressing covid-19
Anne-Sophie Jung and colleagues argue that understanding mechanisms of response to the covid-19 pandemic as trade-offs reinforces false dichotomies and hamstrings attempts to create stronger and more equitable health systems

National responses to covid-19: drivers, complexities, and uncertainties in the first year of the pandemic
Anne-Sophie Jung and colleagues argue that research and policy making must embrace complexity to build sustainable and long term approaches to pandemic preparedness


This collection of articles was proposed by The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response; open access fees were funded by WHO and Singapore's National Medical Research Council (NMRC/CG/C026/2017_NUHS). The BMJ commissioned, peer reviewed, edited, and made the decision to publish these articles. Kamran Abbasi was the lead editor for The BMJ.