Funding BARDA is key to pandemic preparedness – here’s why

We have to ensure the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) “is properly funded so that it can continue to strengthen our preparedness and our response capabilities,” said Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) during a virtual event with federal government leaders earlier this week.

Draft legislation making its way through the House would increase funding for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and other health preparedness initiatives—which BIO supports.

“Stable funding creates important new opportunities for R&D, manufacturing, and testing,” said BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath. “It prevents the inefficiencies caused when business ramps their efforts up and down as they switch between a war and peacetime footing against pandemics.”

BIO supports “allocating funding today that will allow for a timelier response tomorrow,” she added.

“It provides the certainty industry needs to make lifesaving investments in novel platform technologies before it’s too late,” she said during the webinar, which was hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

BARDA invests in companies regardless of size, said BARDA Director Dr. Gary Disbrow: “We are interested in the technology and innovation.” He added that BARDA is working now to leverage COVID-19 innovations to “be better prepared for the next pandemic.”

Public-private partnerships are key to preparedness, speakers agreed. “We need to use best practices from government and industry working together, not only to build future pandemic preparedness but also for the U.S. to remain a leader,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Watch the highlights:


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