U.S. National Security Depends Upon Nation’s Ability To Respond To Antibiotic Resistance, Infectious Diseases
New York Times: The Real Threat to National Security: Deadly Disease
Michael T. Osterholm, epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota
“…[Cuts to the NIH, State Department, and USAID] will diminish research and vaccine development and our ability to respond to the growing threats of antibiotic resistance and new infectious diseases. Those agencies are already falling short, as we saw last year, when they couldn’t effectively respond to the Zika threat. What will they do when we face a real pandemic? … Today, an influenza pandemic could be more devastating than an atom bomb. … The spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes also continues at an ever faster rate. … Finally, there is the danger of diseases deliberately spread by terrorists. … The only way we can win the inevitable microbe wars is to [appropriate money before a crisis] — to have new vaccines and antibiotics and trained personnel ready before the crisis hits. We cannot rely on pharmaceutical companies to create drugs and vaccines for markets that do not yet exist. Only the government can do this. The additional expenditures would be truly economical in terms of lives saved. We are talking about national security on the most existential level” (3/24).