Data Stories

Governments are Unable to Keep Up with Biological Risks and New Technologies

October 12, 2019
In 2018, scientists in Canada successfully synthesized horsepox —a virus related to smallpox, one of the greatest scourges the world has ever faced—demonstrating how viral synthesis could threaten global disease eradication efforts. The experiment illustrated a significant problem: no globally accepted mechanisms exist for identifying risks associated with experiments that…
  • Northern America

Global Catastrophic Biological Risks: Index Finds Weak Global Capacity

October 11, 2019
Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBRs), a term of art for those who study and work to prevent worst-case scenarios, are biological risks of unprecedented scale that could cause such significant damage to human civilization that they undermine its long-term potential. Left unchecked, high-consequence biological events can become GCBRs, leading to…

Small Island Nations Need Special Support and Resources

October 11, 2019
When a Zika virus outbreak initially isolated in Uganda’s Zika Forest unexpectedly emerged across several Pacific island states in 2007, Yap Island was hit particularly hard. More than 70% of those living on the tiny Micronesia island—5,000 people—were infected. Several years later, a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia from 2013…
  • Africa
  • Oceania

Political Insecurity Drives Higher Epidemic and Pandemic Risks

October 11, 2019
Early-August 2019 reports on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were chilling. Amid increased violence in the affected region, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported interruptions in efforts to contain the outbreak. These interruptions coupled with concerns about high rates of population movement from outbreak-affected areas…
  • Africa

Thailand: An Exemplar

October 11, 2019
From May to July 2015, public health experts and leaders in Asia and around the world anxiously watched an alarming and deadly outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the Republic of Korea, which sickened 186 and killed 38.a On June 18 of that year, Thailand notified the…
  • Southeastern Asia