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The spectre of an infectious disease pandemic killing tens of thousands of people around the globe is no longer a theoretical nightmare scenario. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “Disease X” is here and despite consistent efforts by the WHO and others to keep the political focus on this threat, the world has been caught largely unprepared.

If there are lessons already to be learnt from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that too many political decisions are based on short-term thinking that ignores laws of nature. Biology dictates how organisms evolve, particularly when we put pressure on them. With our growing advances into the previously undisturbed natural world, viruses will continue to jump into human populations with devastating impact...

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