Administration

Biden’s biodefense strategy aims to combat future pandemics

The White House on Tuesday released its national biodefense strategy, outlining President Biden’s plan to protect the U.S. from future pandemics and biological threats.

The plan, which utilizes 20 federal agencies, aims to detect early warnings of pandemics and biological threats, prevent epidemics and biological incidents and prepare to reduce the impacts of epidemics.

“We … know that the risk of another pandemic as bad or worse than COVID is a real threat,” a senior administration official said. “The new National Biodefense Strategy therefore outlines a bold vision, along with critical actions, towards a world free of pandemics and catastrophic biological incidents.”

Other goals include rapidly responding to outbreaks as well as restoring community, the economy and the environment after a pandemic or biological incident.

Additionally, the strategy lays out plans for “moonshot” efforts such as transforming early warning of pathogens through next-generation technologies, launching diagnostics for any new pathogen within 12 hours of an outbreak and developing novel vaccines within 100 days.

Biden on Tuesday is set to sign a national security memorandum on countering biological threats, enhancing pandemic preparedness and achieving global health security.

The memo outlines the coordination structure for biodefense across federal agencies, directs agencies to prioritize biodefense, directs the intelligence community to track evolving threat landscapes and ensures the government is continuously reviewing and adjusting priorities.

Biden made combating the COVID-19 pandemic a centerpiece of his early time in office, seeking to get more Americans vaccinated and to mitigate the virus across the country.

The biodefense strategy follows the administration’s release of its broader national security strategy last week, which outlined Biden’s priorities at the start of a decade of global challenges such as climate change and competition among major powers.

Tags Biden biodefense COVID-19 pandemic epidemics Pandemic pathogens

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