With President Biden’s popularity recently slipping to a new low, the White House has announced a sweeping plan to blunt the impact of future pandemics. In the proposal titled “American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities,” the White House argues that “critical work” is “needed to transform U.S. capabilities to respond rapidly and effectively to any future pandemic or high consequence biologic threat.”
The Biden administration is initially seeking Congress to back a $15 billion investment in the initiative.
The proposal calls for a total of $65.3 billion investment in the next seven to 10 years.
Of that total, $24 billion would support the discovery and development of novel vaccines. Another $12 billion would cover therapeutics, while $5 billion would support the development of diagnostics.
The proposal was drafted by Eric Lander, assistant to the President for science and technology and Jacob Sullivan, assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
The introduction of the proposal mentions the threat of natural pandemics as well as laboratory accidents and bioweapons.
Biden has accused China of withholding information related to the pandemic’s origins, while Chinese officials have alleged that a U.S. lab was the source of the pandemic.
To date, some 40 million Americans have had confirmed COVID-19 infections since the pandemic broke out.