STUDY PANEL CO-CHAIRS ATTEND U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT MEETING TO LAY GROUNDWORK FOR BUILDING GLOBAL CAPACITY TO PREVENT AND RESPOND TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 14, 2016)
One day after releasing a new report, Biodefense Indicators – One Year Later, Events Outpacing Federal Efforts to Defend the Nation, Senator Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge, co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, participated in a panel discussion at the State Department entitled Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda: Achievements and Next Steps Toward a World Safe and Secure From Infectious Disease Threats. They released the following joint statement at the conclusion of the meeting:
“We recognize the need for a sustained U.S. engagement in global health efforts and support the aims of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The multilateral activities that GHSA partners have undertaken lay important groundwork for building global capacity to prevent and respond to infectious disease. These activities serve the mutual purposes of promoting our domestic health security while building capacity for other nations to do the same.
“It is clear that these efforts can only be achieved through public-private partnerships and a sustainable funding model. We’d like to see a concerted effort by the federal government to address our Recommendation 33 to convene human and animal health leaders to build a path toward this global public-private response apparatus. We address this recommendation in our new status report, Biodefense Indicators. We also believe that U.S. leadership on animal health is especially important given that the GHSA process is focused on human health and not yet according sufficient priority to the animal-based zoonotic disease threat to human populations.”
In 2015, the Panel assessed biodefense efforts across the spectrum from prevention to recovery, and developed detailed recommendations for the federal government to improve and optimize these efforts. In that first report, the Panel put forward 33 recommendations and 87 action items that, if implemented, would dramatically and quickly improve biodefense. They addressed the need for enhanced federal coordination, optimized collaboration with non-federal partners (particularly in the private sector), and timely adoption of innovative solutions for technological and governance challenges. Of the 46 actions expected to be acted upon within one year, only 2 were completed, and 17 saw partial action, leaving 27 unaddressed. The most significant positive development of the year was that Congress included the requirement for a comprehensive national biodefense strategy in the just-passed National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense released its report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, in October 2015. The report identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments.
The panel is co-chaired by former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge, who are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Senator Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, and the Honorable Ken Wainstein.View Event Photos