Humanity is engaged in a continuous race against viral evolution, and there are dire consequences when we fall behind: lost lives, a devastated global economy, and intense residual fear and anxiety. As of September 21, 2020, SARS–CoV-2 has taken just under 1 million lives (1). Our team is situated in Canada, where more than three million people have lost their jobs (2). Our national federal deficit is increasing, and has been predicted to reach $184 billion in 2021 (3). Based on similar events in the past, this damage to society will have a lasting impact beyond the pandemic. The SARS epidemic in 2003 was associated with a 30% increase in suicide rates (4), and more than 50% of recovered patients remained anxious (5). In healthcare workers, 29% experienced heavy emotional distress (6). In addition to increases in suicides and financial stress, other anticipated consequences of the current pandemic include increases in self-harm, alcohol and substance misuse, domestic and child abuse, and relationship breakdown (7).
VPRE is designed to give us a head start, so that this never happens again.
However, VPRE strives to do even more than just help prevent the next pandemic. It supports a future world that prioritizes biology - one in which genome sequencing, biotechnology, and preventative medicine are prioritized and easily accessible. One that is attentive to science and actively values and protects both humans and the environment on which we rely.
Check out the diagrams below to explore some of VPRE’s key impacts, as well as some risks we’ve considered and mitigated. Then, head over to the Society page to immerse yourself in how we envision a future with VPRE.
1. Our World in Data. (2020). Total Confirmed COVID-19 Deaths.
2. Statistics Canada. (2020). Table 14-10-0287-01:Labour force characteristics, monthly, seasonally adjusted and trend-cycle, last 5 months
3. Lewis, M. (2020). Canadian Economy To Take Massive Hit From COVID-19 And Oil — Will See Largest Contraction Since 1921.
4. Yip, P. S., Cheung, Y. T., Chau, P. H., & Law, Y. W. (2010). The impact of epidemic outbreak: the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and suicide among older adults in Hong Kong. Crisis, 31(2), 86–92.
5. Tsang, H. W., Scudds, R. J., & Chan, E. Y. (2004). Psychosocial impact of SARS. Emerging infectious diseases, 10(7), 1326–1327.
6. Nickell, L. A., Crighton, E. J., Tracy, C. S., Al-Enazy, H., Bolaji, Y., Hanjrah, S., Hussain, A., Makhlouf, S., & Upshur, R. E. (2004). Psychosocial effects of SARS on hospital staff: survey of a large tertiary care institution. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 170(5), 793–798.
7. Holmes, E. A., O'Connor, R. C., Perry, V. H., Tracey, I., Wessely, S., Arseneault, L., Ballard, C., Christensen, H., Cohen Silver, R., Everall, I., Ford, T., John, A., Kabir, T., King, K., Madan, I., Michie, S., Przybylski, A. K., Shafran, R., Sweeney, A., Worthman, C. M., … Bullmore, E. (2020). Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science. The Lancet. Psychiatry, S2215-0366(20)30168.