Working Paper Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Review of Potential High-Leverage and Inexpensive Mitigations for Reducing Risk in Epidemics and Pandemics

Version 1 : Received: 27 February 2020 / Approved: 28 February 2020 / Online: 28 February 2020 (12:32:33 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


There are potentially promising mitigation activities for epidemic and pandemic scenarios that are not currently the subject of significant research effort. Large epidemics and pandemics pose risks that are important to mitigate, even if the likelihood of the events is low and uncertain. While some efforts are the subject of extensive funding and consideration, other approaches are neglected. Here, we consider such neglected interventions which could significantly reduce the impact of such an epidemic or large-scale pandemic. These are identified via a narrative literature review of extant literature reviews and overviews of mitigations in epidemic and pandemic situations, followed by consideration of the economic value of information of further study of heretofore neglected interventions and approaches.Based on that analysis, we considered several classes of mitigations, and conducted more exploratory reviews of each. Those discussed include mitigations for (1) reducing transmission, such as personal protective equipment and encouraging improved hygiene, (2) reducing exposure by changing norms and targeted changes for high-risk or critical professions and activities, (3) reducing impact for those infected, and (4) increasing large scale resilience using disaster and infrastructure continuity planning.Some proposed mitigations are found to be of low marginal value. Other mitigations are likely to be valuable, but the concepts or applications are underdeveloped. In those cases, further research, resources, or preparation are valuable for mitigating both routine and extreme disease outbreak events. Still more areas of research are identified as having uncertain value based on specific but resolvable uncertainties. In both of the latter cases, there is no guarantee that mitigations identified as worthy of further consideration will be valuable, but the argument for further research is clear.


Mitigation; Risk Reduction; Global Catastrophic Biological Risk; Epidemics; Disease X; Literature Review; Pandemics; Value of Information; Existential Risk


Public Health and Healthcare, Health Policy and Services

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