International Conference on Emerging Infections & Pandemic Risk

International Conference on Emerging Infections & Pandemic Risk

June 21-22, 2018 - Institut Pasteur, Paris, France


On June 21-22, 2018, the Institut Pasteur and the SCOR Foundation held an international conference on Emerging Infections and Pandemic Risk. For the Institut Pasteur, bringing together scientific excellence facilitates a global view of public health that can inform civil society, and the conference provided an excellent opportunity for this. For the SCOR Foundation, the conference confirmed its long-term commitment to research and the dissemination of risk-related knowledge, by bringing together the lessons learned from recent epidemics by the best international experts and recent developments in genetics and digitalization, thereby improving the understanding of pandemic risk. 

The program included plenary and panel sessions with invited speakers from 20 institutions around the world. Major topics covered included: zoonotic spill-over, methods and approaches for predicting emergence and spread, genetic sequencing in the context of outbreaks, the wider impact of pandemics, and new tools and technologies for detecting and managing emerging infectious disease outbreaks. 


Main conclusions

  • Predicting what, where and when the next pandemic will be seems impossible, while improving our understanding of past outbreaks and learning how to manage them remains critical. 
  • The main danger for the next pandemic is likely to come from viruses in animal reservoirs that can jump the species barrier and infect humans (“spillover effect”). 
  • Especially for influenza, the impact of earlier exposure, the expected age distribution of deaths and the impact difference by socio-economic group still warrant some further analysis. 
  • The four main drivers of differences in immune response presented at the conference were age, smoker status, gender and genetics; these are also risk factors used for life insurance and a better understanding of their impact can help us to understand epidemic impact on the insured population. 
  • Usually when there is an environmental shock or change to the dynamics of a system, there is an elevated risk of Emerging Infectious Diseases and pandemics. As such, it is important to monitor the impact of climate change (e.g. habitat change of mosquito-borne viruses). 
  • Investing in detection and prevention is a strategy that pays off to limit or contain outbreaks. 
Philippe Trainar

Infectious diseases are subject to particular attention and close monitoring by the SCOR Foundation insofar as they contribute to the extreme risks affecting mortality trends around the world. The conference on Emerging Infections and Pandemic Risk provided an opportunity for the best international experts to draw lessons from recent epidemics, to analyze the potential contributions to be made by recent developments in genetics and digitization, and to better identify the future contours of pandemic risk.

Author name
Philippe Trainar
Author position
President of the SCOR Foundation for Science