Biomedical Research Plays ‘Critical Role In Comprehensive Pandemic Preparedness’

JAMA: The Critical Role of Biomedical Research in Pandemic Preparedness
Hilary D. Marston, Catharine I. Paules, and Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“…Even for pathogens not yet identified as major human health threats, research on related organisms can bolster efforts in the event of an outbreak. … In shaping the research agenda for pandemic preparedness, prediction of microbes likely to cause outbreaks is often more art than science; as HIV, SARS, and Zika have demonstrated, no single algorithm will ‘get it right’ all the time. For this reason, several research approaches are pursued in pandemic preparedness, including (1) pathogen-specific work; (2) platform-based technology; and (3) prototype-pathogen efforts. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses. … Whether dealing with HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, Zika, or the inevitable unanticipated pathogen that will surely emerge, research has played and will play a critical role before, during, and after the outbreak. Looking ahead, the biomedical research community must maintain its critical role in comprehensive pandemic preparedness” (10/4).