At an unspecified time of 2019, an exceptionally rare biological event took place: an animal virus jumped across species and infected humans. SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly from the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan to over two hundred countries, turning into what experts call a “pandemic.” Ilaria Capua is one of the most renowned voices in international virology of our time. While waiting for solutions and strategies to address the ongoing health, economic, and financial crisis, she attempts to project her heart and mind beyond this intermediate phase and focus on the causes as well as the opportunities that is conceals. The appearance of SARS-CoV-2 can be considered a stress test capable of measuring the weaknesses of our system. This infinitesimally small pathogen forced the entirety of mankind to face the disequilibrium created by our relationship with nature. We have to change our approach to nature and biodiversity, placing ourselves as guardians rather than invaders and we cannot put science in a corner if we want an informed and mature society: science should be restored to its central role in knowledge.
So, if we don’t want to get overwhelmed, we need to ponder about the aftermath and rethink the world we live in. Because this is what we are headed toward: a new world.
Ilaria Capua earned her degree in veterinary medicine. She led several research groups and laboratories in Italy and abroad for over thirty years, focusing on animal diseases transmitted to humans and their epidemic potential. In 2008, Seeds named her one of the top “Revolutionary Minds” for her supporting of open-source science. She is currently the Director of the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida.