COVID-19 devastation highlights world's lack of public health preparedness: Fauci

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The devastation that COVID-19 has inflicted globally is truly historic and highlights the world's overall lack of public health preparedness for an outbreak of this magnitude, U.S. top infectious diseases expert Anthony S. Fauci wrote in a newly-published perspective.

Although COVID-19 was "the loudest wake-up call in more than a century to our vulnerability to outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases," Fauci noted, one success of the response was the rapid development, testing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The emergence of new infections and the reemergence of old ones are largely the result of human interactions with and encroachment on nature, Fauci wrote in the perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

As human societies expand in a progressively interconnected world and the human-animal interface is perturbed, opportunities are created, often aided by climate changes, for unstable infectious agents to emerge, jump species, and in some cases adapt to spread among humans, he wrote.

Fauci stressed the importance of improving capabilities to respond to established infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis while also responding to emerging threats.

Fauci will step down from his positions as director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), chief of NIAID's Laboratory of Immunoregulation and chief medical advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden in December 2022.

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