Pandemic Unmasked is a short series of podcasts by the British Embassy The Hague reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic that started almost a year ago. This episode host Andy Clark talks to the Dutch virologist Professor Marion Koopmans, Head of the Department of Viroscience at the Rotterdam Erasmus MC and Professor Carole Mundell, International Science Envoy at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. They discuss lessons learned and what would be needed to avoid, or at least be better prepared for, another pandemic. Would it be possible to develop early warning systems? Why is genomic sequencing to track viruses essential? Professor Koopmans and Professor Mundell also reflect on the role of fake news during this crisis.
Professor Carole Mundell was appointed Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in October 2018 and took up the role of International Science Envoy in January 2021. She is Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy, Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. A world-leading scientist, she is a frequent guest speaker at international conferences. She sits on a number of strategic advisory panels for UK and international groups, is a committed communicator of science, and is an advocate for diversity in science.
Professor Marion Koopmans, DVM PhD focuses on global population level impact of rapidly spreading zoonotic virus infections, with special emphasis on food-borne transmission. She is coordinator of the VEO project working towards prediction, detection and tracking of when and where risk of outbreaks is increasing (https://www.veo-europe.eu). She is the director of the WHO collaborating centre for emerging infectious diseases at the Erasmus Medical Centre, and Scientific Director “Emerging infectious diseases” of the Netherlands Centre for One Health (www.ncoh.nl).