Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic almost a year ago, Margarita del Val is one of the most reputed and listened to virologies in Spain. Now, with a downward trend in the third wave of the pandemic and with the vaccination campaigns underway, The Spanish gives the keys to avoid a new pandemic similar to the current one or, at least, better control it than the arrival of COVID-19.
As indicated by the expert in an interview on the program La hora de la 1 on TVE, everything goes through a greater investment in detection mechanisms, research, above all, production of new vaccines or medicines. “We continue to react a posteriori,” explained the CSIC virologist, emphasizing that the important thing in pandemics in a prompt reaction, even “even if there are only two deaths” and not when everything “is almost saturated”. See the example of Australia, a country that is confined with the appearance of a single case.
The importance of preparing for a pandemic
“We must be prepared as a society. When they tell us ‘Attention, this that seems serious is not a flu’, we will react, even if there are only two deaths. Let us not wait for a policy of ‘This is almost saturated, now is when I put the restrictions’, which is what we continue to do now ”, indicates Margarita del Val, critical of the strategies that have been followed so far to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic in Spanish territory.
And he hopes that this procedure that he puts on the table can be used soon, although, he knows, it will be very difficult. “I hope that for one of the waves ahead of us in this pandemic we will still put it into practice, but no, we continue to react afterwards, and that is more ineffective and hurts much more to the economy, to mental health, to society and controls the infection worse ”, he adds.
How to react to the next pandemic?
The first -and unlike what happened with the arrival of the coronavirus-, is to take into account the information of scientists, to be alert about infectious diseases that could unleash a new pandemic. Margarita del Val insists on having “An important monitoring of what is circulating, when it increases or what it looks like”, to put us on notice.
Of course, taking pandemics seriously is essential and the recommendations of the experts and not think that it is just another flu, as it happened a year ago with COVID-19. Del Val insists that we must act “as they have done in the countries around the arc of our antipodes, from New Zealand to Japan.” “If we take it very seriously from the beginning, pandemics are cut radically, with a surgical intervention, which costs a lot but is much more effective”, adds the virologist.
As a third point, Margarita highlights greater investment in specialized centers and having more researchers in infectious diseases since these types of situations “are not improvised”. As well calls for promoting public health, so key in pandemics: “And that primary care is not the first to encounter the problem, but that from public health the necessary measures of containment and hygiene can be put in place and that we comply with them ”.
Last but not least, have a body prepared for the development and production of vaccines or other medicines to cope with new diseases. “All this training will not be in vain,” says Del Val. “It will not be someone in the reserve waiting, it will be people generating knowledge and contributing to science and the industrial fabric of the country.”