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Much has been learned from the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). It has revealed that it is vital that the world is ready to deal with unanticipated outbreaks of infectious disease, and it has underlined the fact that the key to controlling epidemics is to block the transmission of infection.

In this Science editorial, Barry Bloom, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, argues that the wrong lesson to be taken from SARS would be to pass new emergency legislation mandating narrowly targeted funding for SARS research and control.

Rather, he calls on the United States to invest efforts and funds to more generally strengthen health structures in countries around the world. If the United States were to help train experts in epidemiology and surveillance, strengthen laboratories in key regions, and support the World Health Organisation, we would help to create a true global health network, he argues.

Link to Science editorial

Reference: Science 300, 701 (2003)

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