The future of infectious diseases.
In the late 20th century the predominant view was that the age of infectious diseases was over, that new technologies had won the battle. That turned out not to be the case. This talk draws on historical and modern examples where new technologies, rather than being seen as vital additions to help fight infection, are thought to replace everything else we need to do. As a result, they have sometimes set back rather than enhanced the control of infectious diseases, at least for a time. It is argued that this is entirely avoidable, that hugely important breakthroughs such as genetic sequencing of micro-organisms, must go hand in hand with continued action on the social and behavioural drivers of infection to achieve the greatest benefit. Like so many aspects of modern life, the future of infectious disease control lies in essential new discoveries alongside a continued understanding of our basic humanity. Professor Paul Cosford is a Visiting Professor at the University of Chester, UK, and is the Emeritus Medical Director for Public Health England.