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Strong Pandemic Preparedness Requires Sustained Political Commitment, Effective Leadership

Washington Post: Our lack of pandemic preparedness could prove deadly
Tom Inglesby, director, and Eric Toner, senior scholar, both at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

“…Nature continues to create serious biological threats, with the possibility of a deadly new pandemic influenza perhaps the most worrying. Far less recognized, but potentially even more alarming: The biotechnology revolution now underway is substantially lowering the bar for the creation of biological weapons that themselves could cause pandemics. … The United States should place extraordinary national focus on establishing new approaches to quickly produce drugs, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics for novel pathogens. Sustained political commitment to pandemic preparedness is in some ways just as vital as the work to create medical countermeasures. … Investing in the [Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)] directly benefits the health security of the United States because viruses don’t respect borders. … But America must also fortify its national medical response capacity. … If the worst-case scenario unfolds, strong pandemic preparedness planning would save millions of lives. But progress is possible only with effective leadership” (9/19).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.