Biden White House Unveils $65 Billion Plan to Bolster America’s Pandemic, Biodefense Capabilities
01:54 GMT 04.09.2021 (Updated: 01:59 GMT 04.09.2021)
The Biden Administration has released a detailed plan to strengthen America’s ability to combat future biohazards and pandemics. The 27-page document details the goals, solutions, and price tag for the administration’s American Pandemic Preparedness plan.
The Biden administration unveiled on Friday its new plans to prepare and strengthen America for its next standoff against a potential pandemic.
The plan, called the American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities, was laid out in a 27-page document that details the steps and costs needed to build up America’s biodefense and pandemic response capabilities. The document also notes the vulnerabilities that currently exist in America’s biodefense and pandemic response capabilities, and stresses the unpredictability that each pandemic brings and aims to prepare America, and to a lesser extent, the world to successfully combat it.
The plan is broken down into five core goals: transforming our medical defenses; ensuring situational awareness; strengthening public health systems; building core capabilities; and managing the mission, with each goal carrying corresponding solutions. The administration provides a funding price tag for each solution, with the total coming in at $65.3 billion set to be spent over the next seven to ten years.
3 September, 19:04 GMT
Transforming Our Medical Defenses
To transform the nation’s medical defenses the administration has prioritized improvements to vaccine design, testing, authorization, production, distribution, administration, and adaptation, as well as designing therapeutics to target essential viral functions, and creating and employing diagnostic tests.
The price tag on bolstering the nation’s vaccine capabilities was listed at $24.2 billion, for therapeutics $11.8 billion, and diagnostics at $5 billion.
Almost two-thirds of the proposed budget is deployed to the administration's first goal.
Ensuring Situational Awareness
To realize the Biden administration's goal of ensuring situational awareness, they aim to invest $3.1 billion into early warning systems and $2.3 billion into real time monitoring capabilities.
The hope behind “ensuring situational awareness,” is that America will be able to discover any new biological threats early enough to stop a pandemic, and if they fail in that regard, will have the capabilities to track, monitor, and minimize its spread.
Strengthening Public Health Systems
On the domestic front, the administration hopes to modernize America’s public health infrastructure through a $6.5 billion investment in public health laboratories and digital infrastructure, strengthen the public health workforce, and prioritizing vulnerable communities.
Internationally, the administration wants to spend $2.8 billion to strengthen capacity, international systems for research and development, product approval, and rapid distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and supplies.
Building Core Capabilities
The Biden Administration has tapped four key solutions to build up America’s core biohazard and pandemic capabilities. The first is to invest $3.1 billion to improve the effectiveness and manufacturing of personal protective equipment, with the second - a $2.1 investment - to ensure that the US has the ability to store and produce vital supplies.
The third solution is a $2 billion investment to prevent catastrophic biological events. The fourth solution is to spend $1.6 billion to improve regulatory capacity for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
Manage The Mission
The final goal of the Biden administration’s pandemic preparedness plan is to establish a US Mission Control. The task of Mission Control will be to ensure accountability for all aspects of US pandemic preparedness and provide the nation with succinct plans to combat any future threats.
The administration will seek to gain international coordination through Mission Control and comes with an $800 million price tag.
3 September, 18:23 GMT
The Biden Administration believes the nearly $65 billion investment in pandemic preparedness will be well worth the investment, especially as officials cite figures that suggest the COVID-19 pandemic has already cost the US $16 trillion.
There is also mention of the technological developments that will be applicable outside the realm of biohazard and pandemic defense. The plan consistently references the Apollo program, and it appears to be the angle of the administration to portray this plan as a massive investment in American technology, as well as health.