PDPC Hosts Second Avian Influenza Simulation 

The Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC) organized the second edition of the Avian Influenza simulation on 24 May 2024. This event built on the first simulation held on 17 April, which depicted an Avian Influenza variant spreading via pigs, posing significant health risks to humans and animals. The May 24 scenario extended to human-to-human and cross-border transmission, including severe cases particularly affecting youngsters.

Interdisciplinary teams of scientists from biomedical, social, and economic sciences participated in the simulation. They explored how to develop comprehensive scientific advice for policymakers during such crises. Initially, biomedical experts and social and economic scientists crafted recommendations independently, following the established governance framework for advising on outbreak responses in the Netherlands. Later in the day, two interdisciplinary groups converged to develop integral advice on how to respond to the outbreak.

By the end of the simulation, both interdisciplinary groups had developed a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at minimizing casualties and maintaining the general wellbeing of the population. Open dialogue and curiosity about each other’s disciplinary perspectives were identified as critical factors for achieving such integral advice.

At the end of the day, participants reflected on the value of integral advice and discussed ways to improve the process and tools for it. Overall, there was a collective eagerness to continue such interdisciplinary exercises, highlighting the importance of ongoing research at the intersection of science and policy to enhance readiness for crises.

This initiative builds upon last year’s ‘Learning from a Crisis’ event. For more details, you can read the full report and the whitepaper here.