The Zika virus is the latest in a long line of pandemics that have challenged the world’s medical systems. The Medical Trading System (MTS) can help manage these inevitable pandemics by bringing doctors together to efficiently pool resources and scientific brainpower to quickly find vaccines, medications, and prevent the spread of viruses.
When a pandemic occurs, agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) analyze sensitive outbreak information and provide the government with guidance on how best to counteract pathogens. Travel advisories are issued to protect public health, while minimizing economic harm to countries heavily dependent on tourism and trade.
WHO also brings together the world’s scientific minds to advance understanding of the virus and its mutations. It also coordinates the many labs, pharmaceutical companies, research funders and governments that scramble to develop drugs, diagnostic tools, and vaccines against viruses like Zika. This helps them avoid wasteful duplication and speeds up the scientific process. The drugs and vaccines that are produced to combat the epidemic should be affordable and accessible to the people in greatest need, not just to those who can pay the highest price.
In late September 2014, the Ebola outbreak peaked in West Africa, taking hundreds of lives and threatening many more people around the world. By the time the first death was confirmed on American soil, the country’s medical community was in panic.
Doctors around struggled to figure out ways to contain this burgeoning pandemic. Effective drugs and vaccines for Ebola were unavailable. Doctors and volunteers from different parts of the world risked their lives to travel to the outbreak’s epicenter to help local doctors.
Research has found that the Ebola virus spreads in clusters, so doctors used that knowledge to determine that containing the outbreak involved a combination of case isolation, contact tracing with quarantines, and implementing sanitary funeral practices. Successfully putting these practices in place would require persistence and sensitivity to local customs.
The Medical Trading System (MTS) can serve as a data gathering point — with doctors around the world entering relevant information regarding pandemics. The MTS will be an established channel for medical collaboration. Doctors in the field can enter data, which can then be analyzed by other doctors globally. Data collection is a difficult process, and analyzing said data is also a challenge. The MTS intrinsically solves these two issues.
The MTS can store information about certain ailments in specific geographic regions flagged for pandemics. The pandemic component in the Vector Map can then be enabled and disabled as needed.
Historical reference point: The MTS process involves collecting, sharing, and collaborating on the work of many doctors. The results of this work can be stored for future analysis to help inform and improve global responses to pandemics.
During the Ebola epidemic, every member of the medical teams brought in specific expertise and resources under a well coordinated and integrated structure and response plan. While there had never been a previous outbreak of Ebola, there have been outbreaks of cholera, measles, SARS and bird flu. The sensitization to these outbreaks contributed to the creation of the infrastructure that proved helpful in containing Ebola. The MTS can help medical professionals even more prepared for the next pandemic.