Am Donnerstag, 14. Mai 2020, fand am Center for Security Studies (CSS) der ETH Zürich das dritte Brown Bag Webinar zum Thema «Covid-19: Ursprung des neuen Coronavirus und Gegenmassnahmen» statt. Michèle Gemünden, Molekularbiologin und Senior Researcher im Team schweizerische und euroatlantische Sicherheit am CSS, widmete sich folgenden Fragen: Ist das Virus tatsächlich vom Tier auf den Menschen übergesprungen oder ist es doch versehentlich aus einem Hochsicherheitslabor entwichen? Wann wird ein wirksamer Impfstoff zur Verfügung stehen? Und wie effizient sind Gesichtsmasken gegen eine Ansteckung?
Growing populations, rising global temperatures, urbanization, and easier trade and travel are all changing the world in ways conducive to the spread of infectious disease. The recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks have dominated news headlines and their toll has been terrible, but a more lethal infectious disease could do far worse harm.
“For infectious diseases, you cannot trust the past when planning for the future,” warned Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), at the World Health Assembly last week in Geneva. “What we are seeing,” she said, is “a dramatic resurgence of the threat from emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. The world is not prepared to cope.”
On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern, with the potential to infect up to four million people in the Americas by year’s end. Under increasing pressure to slow the spread of the disease, the Brazilian government has stepped up its response, including mobilizing 220,000 military personnel to cities across the country.
According to Brazil’s ministry of health, the military will be used to spread awareness by going door-to-door, handling out pamphlets, and distributing mosquito repellent. However, it is believed that the troops will also use this opportunity to identify which homes are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes and target those sites for surveillance and fumigation. Mosquitoes are known to carry the Zika virus, which has been linked with the rare congenital condition microcephaly in newborn babies.