Skip to:

"The Five Things to Get Right Before the Next Pandemic"

Bloomberg Businesweek interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about preparing for the next epidemiological crisis

Share: 
Date: 
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Contact: 

In January 2017, a lengthy proposal showed up at the offices of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in Washington. Running 112 pages, the document described a strategy for stopping future pandemics. It outlined a number of vaccine technologies to pursue, including messenger RNA and adenovirus vectors, and recommended that a team of 180 scientists, doctors, and other experts be created to carry out the plan. There were intricate technical details, an org chart, and an estimated cost: $595 million over 10 years.

Congress created Barda, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2006 for precisely this kind of thing. It’s charged with developing and procuring drugs and vaccines, and ensuring that the country is researching countermeasures to combat bioterrorism and chemical warfare, as well as pandemic influenza and other emerging infectious threats.

The agency has historically been small, though, and the proposal, which came from the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline Plc, would have entailed one of its more ambitious efforts. Following the massive 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which killed more than 11,000 people, Glaxo researchers wanted to identify viruses likely to cause major epidemics and tackle several of them at once.

READ MORE