According to a new study, a pandemic early warning system would save Switzerland up to 30 billion Swiss francs. Soon, the National Council will decide whether to investigate other pathogens in wastewater in addition to COVID-19.
One franc invested in early pandemic detection yields a benefit of 4 to 129 francs. This is the result of a new economic study by the think tank Pour Demain with the collaboration of Eraneos and INFRAS.
Depending on the severity of a pandemic, an institutionalised early warning system achieves cost savings from 1 billion Swiss francs (for a COVID-19-like pandemic) to 15 billion (for a severe pandemic), increasing to around 30 billion Swiss francs for an extreme pandemic .
Specifically, the study proposes continuous monitoring of five pathogens with the greatest pandemic potential in 50 to 100 wastewater treatment plants; genomic sequencing (decoding) of these pathogens from hospitals, health practices and wastewater; and better data management.
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Contact: Laurent Bächler, Programme Officer Biosecurity, Pour Demain