The Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Centre (PDPC) was officially opened at Erasmus MC on 21 May. Researchers of the PDPC study future virus outbreaks and disasters to be better prepared for these calamities.
Ernst Kuipers, the Chairman of the Executive Board of Erasmus MC, Ed Brinksma of Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Tim van der Hagen of TU Delft opened the PDPC at the Convergence Square in Erasmus MC. Watch the opening on YouTube.
The COVID-19 crisis painfully shows how vulnerable our society is to disasters. Climate change and overpopulation are causing more frequent and more severe extreme weather events. This is linked to the risk of new infectious diseases, as we have seen in recent decades. The PDPC is turning the momentum of COVID-19 into a sustained investment in scientific and technological innovation.
'Then let's take the lessons we learn now and see: how do you prevent it in the future? And if it cannot be prevented entirely: how do you pick up on something crazy developing as soon as possible, and what do you do with it then?', says Prof. Marion Koopmans, head of the Viroscience department of Erasmus MC.
At the opening, recordings were shown of the researchers affiliated with this knowledge centre, in which they explain what kind of research they are doing in the PDPC and what this collaboration means for their research. Prof.dr.ir. Bas Jonkman Professor of Hydraulic Engineering at TU Delft, is researching water disasters, flood risks and measures to prevent them. 'Not just designing a safe city now, but a safe delta city of the future that can withstand disasters and future health risks', says Jonkman.
Professor Pearl Dykstra, professor of empirical sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, led two studies, including one on Pandemic Preparedness for which she wrote an opinion with others. This study made her decide to join the PDPC. She studies people's lives and how they are affected by pandemics and disasters. The PDPC offers a unique opportunity to work together across disciplines,' says Dykstra.
One of the projects that is running together with Erasmus MC, TU Delft, Erasmus University, knowledge institute for water management KWR and the Rotterdam Public Health Service is the sewage water study. This project was started to gain insight into the circulation of the virus and to be better prepared for virus outbreaks.
A large group of people have mild or no complaints when infected. Only the small group of people with serious complaints see their GP or end up in hospital. This is called the infection pyramid. As a result, you miss a large group of people who carry the virus. The sewage research offers opportunities to compare underground data with above-ground data. This allows early warning threats to be measured at KWR and the GGD can then put the models and possible measures resulting from the data into practice.