White House unveils $ 65 billion plan to fight new pandemics (2)
The proposal announced Friday by the White House
“There is a reasonable probability that another serious pandemic which could be worse than Covid-19 will occur soon, and possibly even in the next decade,”
Considering the toll the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on American lives and the American economy, Lander added, “We really need to start preparing now.” The proposal also highlights the accelerating rate of emergence of new infectious diseases due to population growth, climate change and habitat loss as a reason to launch the effort now.
White House decision highlights contrast to former president’s administration
The Biden administration said the funds should be “allocated to a single, unified ‘mission control’ office” in the
“Like any ambitious endeavor, whether it’s going to the moon with the Apollo mission or deciphering human DNA with the Human Genome Project, an effort like this will require serious commitment and responsibility, and supported, ”Lander said.
All funding will have to be assigned by Congress. The plan, called “US pandemic preparedness: transforming our capabilities, recommends:
- $ 24.2 billion for vaccine development;
- $ 11.8 billion for drug development;
- $ 6.5 billion for strengthening public health infrastructure in the United States;
- $ 5 billion to improve testing;
- $ 3.1 billion for surveillance systems for detection, plus $ 2.3 billion for real-time surveillance;
- and $ 3.1 billion for personal protective equipment, among other allowances
“It’s critical that we start with an initial down payment of $ 15 billion to $ 20 billion to jumpstart these efforts,” Lander said. “We propose that the current fiscal reconciliation provide at least $ 15 billion to achieve this goal.”
The Biden administration calls the investment a drop in the bucket. The United States spends $ 170 billion a year to prevent terrorism, according to the proposal, which suggests that “it’s hard to imagine an economic – or human – return on domestic investment” higher than such a plan. preperation.
As part of the new venture, the White House has called in Matthew Hepburn, director of Covid vaccine development for the Countermeasures Acceleration Group, formerly known as Operation Warp Speed, according to people familiar with the matter.
Beginning October 1, Hepburn will begin serving as a direct report to Lander, bolstering the U.S. government’s vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities, among other goals outlined in the proposal.
The people, who asked not to be named because full details of the plan are not yet public, said the OSTP will oversee the scattered funding for biodefense. Hepburn’s full-time position will focus on managing the “American Pandemic Preparedness” program across the various HHS agencies.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that the country’s medical supply chains are in need of an overhaul and additional funding. Health workers were unable to obtain enough personal protective equipment during much of the pandemic, and hospitals continue to struggle to obtain enough oxygen.
The proposal reflects on these gaps and describes five areas of ‘urgent need’ for investment, including expanding the arsenal of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, strengthening surveillance of infectious disease threats, improving interventions. emergency response, reconstitution of protective equipment and management of the multi-pronged biodefense effort.
Through this plan, the Biden administration would aim to develop an effective vaccine against “any human virus” within 100 days of a pandemic threat is identified, and to produce sufficient supply for all of the United States within 130 days. days.
The proposed office would also be responsible for ensuring simple and inexpensive diagnostic tests that can be deployed on a large scale within weeks of detecting a viral threat. It will also develop these detection and surveillance capabilities, according to the plan.
Finally, the office will fill stocks that have been depleted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as creating secure supply chains by having greater US-based manufacturing capacity. To address PPE shortages, the office is reportedly working to develop new types of masks, gowns and other supplies.
The office’s focus would primarily focus on improvements in national preparedness, but would involve working globally to prevent laboratory accidents, a topic that has received renewed attention due to uncertainty over the how Covid-19 started.
(Updates with details everywhere)
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