FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steve Aaron
COMMISSION APPLAUDS TANGIBLE PROGRESS ON PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION; PUSHES FOR REMAINING GAPS TO BE FILLED
White House today released 1st Annual Report on Progress Towards Implementation of
American Pandemic Preparedness Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 1, 2022) – In a new status report out today, the Biden Administration provides a look at progress made towards implementing its 2021 American Pandemic Preparedness Plan (AP3), which reflects many of the recommendations previously made by the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. The report details both substantial progress and continuing gaps in the Nation’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, biological threats.
“The Bipartisan Commission agrees that much progress has been made in the last year and that the federal government must continue to accelerate innovations across all pillars of the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, which we are grateful to note drew on recommendations previously made by this Commission,” said former Senator Joe Lieberman, co-chair of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. “As we have experienced since 2020, biological threats like COVID-19 and monkeypox have the power to devastate our lives. Our country must be better prepared on all fronts. We look forward to continuing to work with the White House and Congress to do what is necessary to protect the American people.”
Sen. Lieberman noted that the Commission identified 15 technology priorities in its 2021 Apollo Program for Biodefense and provided specific recommendations on how to advance those priorities in its subsequent Athena Agenda. Today’s AP3 status update details progress made on 15 recommendations from the Commission’s Athena Agenda, including at-home tests and therapeutics, vaccine candidates for prototype pathogens, therapeutic drugs in advance of outbreaks, rapid point-of-use diagnostics, and a national public health data system. This comprehensive update also describes a portfolio of priorities that have yet to be achieved, enabling administrative activities, applicable regular actions of the federal government, and newly stood up efforts that have yet to bear fruit.
“The executive summary of today’s AP3 status update correctly affirms that the United States has the unique opportunity to transform future pandemic preparedness capabilities,” said Gov. Tom Ridge, first Secretary of Homeland Security and co-chair of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. “But it will take a concerted effort by the Administration and Congress to make it happen. The public and private sectors must also work together in unprecedented ways to achieve the goals set by our Apollo Program for Biodefense and AP3. Effective partnerships will result in the bold innovation our Nation and the world so desperately need to respond to biological threats, save lives, and protect economies.”
Gov. Ridge noted that the Commission will focus on partnerships for biodefense at its next public meeting scheduled for September 22 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, is scheduled to speak, as are Members of Congress and other public and private sector representatives. The Commission will release a full agenda in the coming days.
About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. In its 2021 report, Biodefense in Crisis: Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities, the Commission described the extent to which the federal government has implemented the Commission’s Blueprint for Biodefense. Other Commission publications have addressed critical needs for an Apollo Program for Biodefense, national biodetection, agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, diagnostics, biodefense of critical infrastructure, contributions by land-grant universities to biodefense, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial response capabilities. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint and in September 2021 released the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, taking up recommendations from the Commission’s Apollo Program and Athena Agenda reports. The Commission continues to address biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.