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Vox’s Future Perfect Thinks Ahead on How to Pandemic-Proof the World

What can we do now to prepare for the next pandemic?

A photo collage of the Earth as seen from space on a checkered background showing pandemic-related images. Illustrations by Christina Animashaun/Vox

As we enter year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s evident that the world, and the US in particular, was not remotely prepared for a global health crisis. Even as we continue to navigate the current pandemic, the challenges we have faced make it abundantly clear that we must begin to look ahead. More than any other single existential threat, either natural or anthropogenic, a contagious and deadly infectious disease pandemic has the potential to truly derail humanity’s present — and its future. Over the next week, Vox’s Future Perfect will publish a series of stories that explain how we can fortify our pandemic defenses to meet the next crisis with speed and resilience. Vox’s Future Perfect covers the ideas and research that can make the future a better, more perfect place for everyone around the world.

Contributors to the package include Dylan Matthews, on developing vaccines for the next pandemic now, and on how to test and trace a virus we haven’t discovered yet; Kelsey Piper, on why experts are afraid of a manufactured pandemic and how we can stop it; Sigal Samuel, on h​ow to future-proof your life from pandemics and other threats; Dylan Scott, on America’s need for more doctors and nurses to survive the next pandemic; Umair Irfan, on how to find the next pandemic virus; Muizz Akhtar, on how the sewer system can be a major line of defense; and Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg, on how 3D printing can help fight the next pandemic.

Many of the solutions presented will take years to execute, and the goal of the package is to allow readers to understand what we can do now to make them a reality.