Virus Storm

The number of lethal new viruses now assaulting the human species is striking:

MERS/SARS2
H5N1
H7N9
H10N8
pH1N1

Since all of these viruses can kill otherwise healthy young adults, when a new outbreak of an infectious agent occurs, it can be difficult to know which of the many, and growing number, of viruses is responsible. Testing should now involve rapid sequencing of samples. This should not be left to local public health departments. There should be a national system for sample preparation and sequencing with clear protocols for hospital and private practitioners to follow and designated laboratories for the samples to be sent to. The goal should be identification of the virus within 24 hours of a death or a cluster of people with severe illness. If the CDC is unwilling or unable to meet these metrics, States should set up their own protocols and networks. Many States have sufficient expertise and equipment to get this done.

There should be no “mystery” viruses in the 21st Century.

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