Just as with COVID-19, future viral outbreaks will have plenty of time to spread before a vaccine becomes available. A new approach developed at NTNU can save lives and prevent the need to shut down society.
The coronavirus pandemic has made the whole world more aware of what diseases can do to a society. Now, archaeologists and biologists who are studying medieval pandemics, like the Black Death, are learning lessons about the past that may help us in the future.
Plagues have ravaged Norway many times over the centuries. As early as 1625, the state took systematic action to prevent the plague from spreading. Isolation was a new idea that would prove to be effective. Strict restrictions were imposed on social gatherings, including limits on the number of people who could be present at weddings and funerals. Measures were also introduced to compensate the business community for the financial losses resulting from closures.
Norwegians are unspeakably tired of the measures imposed by the country’s Minister of Health, Bent Høie. But historian Erik Opsahl says the measures are mild compared to the old days. Imported infection during pandemics used to be stopped by gunfire.
Broad-spectrum antiviral drugs work against a range of viral diseases, but developing them can be costly and time consuming. Testing existing anti-viral drugs for their ability to combat multiple viral infections can help.
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