September 28, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C. — The O’Neill Institute is pleased to announce that on September 28, 2021, our faculty director Lawrence Gostin published a book entitled Global Health Security: A Blueprint for the Future with Harvard University Press. We are thankful to the editors and publishers at Harvard who helped transform Gostin’s initial conceptions for this book into a valuable tool for students, teachers, scholars, researchers, policy makers, and other leaders in global health governance.
Global Health Security explains that we are at a historic crossroad in global health security. Our scientific tools to protect us — vaccines and anti-viral medications — have never been more potent. And yet, as demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, much about today’s world enhances the danger threats pose — including congested cities, mass travel, and close contact with animals. COVID-19 tested the preparedness and resilience of our health systems and highlighted the challenges of mounting a robust national and global response to disease threats. Even the most sophisticated health systems in Europe and the United States failed to cope well. How will we better prepare for even deadlier threats on the horizon?
Gostin’s book spans the range of infectious disease threats, primarily novel and fast-moving pathogens like SARS-CoV-2. It also looks to growing threats from humanity’s biggest killer, mosquitoes, which cause devastating diseases like dengue, malaria, and Zika. And it covers threats of modernity, including bioterrorism and unintentional laboratory release of pathogens, antimicrobial resistance, and the climate crisis. The book then covers key elements of response, from the role of international institutions and legal frameworks to the importance of health systems and research and development.
Global Health Security offers a new paradigm for preparing for pandemic threats on a global level. Instead of narrow, reactive silos, global health security requires sustained economic investment, strengthened international institutions, resilient national health systems, targeted research and development, and effective risk communication. We must guide future action with values including cooperative action, shared responsibility, equity, and fairness. Above all, preparedness requires sustained financial investments and political will — but both are in short supply. No longer can we lurch from complacency to panic, with the world’s most disadvantaged populations suffering most when threats materialize. We must plan and invest to create global health security, with justice.
“Gostin draws on the lessons of AIDS, SARS, Ebola, and the COVID-19 pandemic to lay out a roadmap for global health security, making a powerful and persuasive case for how the principles of solidarity, equity, and justice must guide the international community in preparing for and responding to the health crises of the future.”—Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization
“[A] comprehensive and detailed blueprint for responding to global health crises. Gostin casts a wide net, addressing the overuse of antibiotics, climate change, and the lack of universal health coverage…Gostin goes further to explain how lessons from Covid-19 can remake society to be better prepared for future health threats.”—Publishers Weekly
“We are entering an age of pandemics, one marked with more frequent disease outbreaks and increasingly greater threats to our social order. There is no one better than Gostin to connect the dots across outbreaks, laying out how climate change, economic development, and globalization have created new risks. But more than sounding the alarm, he brilliantly charts a path forward for how nations and indeed the world can be better prepared to meet these threats head on.”—Ashish K. Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health