Marion Koopmans, Head of the Department of Viroscience at Erasmus MC, is one of the pioneers of this centre. For many years, she has been working on virus outbreaks, specifically on the transfer of viruses from animals to humans, and on large-scale outbreaks within the human population.
A couple of years ago, the WHO developed blueprints for future viruses, like coronavirus and Ebola, but also for Disease X, a hypothetical unknown pathogen that leads to human disease. Koopmans: ‘It is an interesting question: what do we do, if something comes along that is completely unknown?’
Apart from fundamental questions from a biomedical perspective, researchers at the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC), are looking to re-design buildings to make them pandemic-proof. ‘We want to bring together knowledge from various disciplines and see how things can be improved,’ says Koopmans.