At the time of publication of this report, coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has taken the lives of over 1 million Americans—and more than 6.4 million around the world—with many recovered patients living with long-term effects. As staggering as the losses of the last nearly 3 years have been, COVID-19 was a moderate pandemic, and as a result of a number of factors (e.g.,climate change, human behavior, increased global travel), there is a high likelihood of future pandemics.
Due to continued advances in science and technology, the United States has the unique opportunity to transform future pandemic preparedness capabilities. The U.S. Government must seize the moment to transform its scientific capabilities in preparation for the increasing frequency of biological threats on the horizon.
On September 3, 2021, the American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming our Capabilities Plan(AP3) was released, outlining a bold vision to achieve the transformational capabilities needed to directly address future threats. AP3 includes five pillars:
- Transforming Our Medical Defenses by dramatically improving medical countermeasures (MCMs) to include vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
- Ensuring Situational Awareness about infectious-disease threats, for both early warning and real-time monitoring.
- Strengthening Public Health Systems – including workforce support, training, and development – in the United States and internationally to respond to emergencies, with a particular focus on protecting the most vulnerable communities.
- Building Core Capabilities, including innovation in personal protective equipment (PPE), restoring and expanding stockpiles and building resilient supply chains, acceleration of biosafety and biosecurity innovation, and improvement in regulatory capacity and both global and domestic clinical trial networks.
- Managing the Mission, with a seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability. Since AP3’s release 1 year ago, the U.S. Government has worked diligently to advance progress towards implementing a number of the transformational capabilities outlined in the plan, though additional investments are needed to fully realize the needs outlined in all five pillars.
The enclosed report summarizes progress made towards advancing AP3 capabilities while also providing priority areas for investment and additional efforts needed in the year ahead. As a key component of future response, the U.S. Government acknowledges that simply transforming our capabilities in pandemic preparedness will not be enough to achieve our goals of reducing the burden of pathogens on the world, especially in vulnerable communities. Scientific and technological advances must be paired with public engagement, trust building, and recognition and resolution of previous harms and challenges in public health. All of these foundational areas are addressed here and must be advanced if the Nation and the world are to be prepared for future threats