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Saturday, January 28, 2023

New Public Awareness Campaign Urges Support for Ambitious Biodefense Goal

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense called on the federal government to urgently implement its recommendations.

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense unveiled a new public awareness campaign in support of their proposed Apollo Program for Biodefense, a grand project similar in scope and importance to the mission to land humans on the Moon. If authorized by the Administration and Congress, the Program can eliminate pandemics in ten years and dramatically reduce other biological threats.

The public awareness campaign, which includes a 30-second PSA and other sharable materials, is housed at TheNextApollo.org and was announced during a public meeting of the Commission at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. today.

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense called on the federal government to urgently implement the recommendations specified in its report, The Apollo Program for Biodefense: Winning the Race Against Biological Threats, in January 2021. The report detailed an ambitious program to develop and deploy the science and technologies needed to defend against all biological threats, empower public health, and prevent pandemics. The Commission argues if the United States acts now, this Apollo Program could effectively end the era of pandemic threats in ten years.

“It is our belief that with the right encouragement and policies, groundbreaking and lifesaving technologies could be American reality within the next ten years, creating a layered and effective defense against future biological threats,” said Commission Co-Chair, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. “With this new public awareness campaign, we are telling this story and hopefully inspiring Americans to recognize that now is the time for an Apollo Program for Biodefense that we undertake with the same ambition and ingenuity that put the first human on the Moon in 1969.”

With ambitious technology goals in mind, the Commission’s recommended grand Program would ideally deploy medical countermeasures within days (or in advance) of a biological event; detect a novel biological threat at the first human or animal cluster; and enable the public to gather in spaces built to defend against pathogen transmission. The United States must invest in innovation by engaging and motivating America’s entrepreneurial spirit to achieve these goals quickly.

“The recent discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is yet another reminder of why our federal government must get much more aggressive in how our nation deals with biological threats,” said Commission Co-Chair, former Senator Joe Lieberman. “While the outsized effects of COVID-19 demonstrate how vulnerable the United States is to biological threats, our response to COVID-19 also illuminates the country’s astounding potential in terms of resources, manpower, and creativity. The rapid creation of multiple COVID-19 vaccines speaks to that limitless potential.”

The full report may be accessed here.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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