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National Biodefense Strategy: Opportunities and Challenges with Early Implementation

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[Technical Report, Congressional Testimony]

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We are pleased to be here today to discuss our recently issued work on the National Biodefense Strategy. Catastrophic biological threats highlight the inextricable link between security and public health concerns. These threatswhether naturally-occurring, intentional, or accidentalhave the potential to cause loss of life and sustained damage to the economy, societal stability, and global security. The vast and evolving biological threat landscape includes threats of naturally-occurring infectious diseases, bioterrorism, and safety and security lapses at facilities that house biological threat agents. For example, the unpredictable nature of naturally-occurring disease, such as the novel coronavirus COVID-19, poses a threat to humans. As of March 5, 2020, COVID-19 has spread from China to nearly 80 countries, including the United States, which has over 150 cases and nearly a dozen deaths associated with the virus. This novel virus poses a public health and economic threat, and may eventually be declared a pandemic, as seen with severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS in 2003. Infectious diseases, such as coronaviruses, can be transmissible from animals to humans, demonstrating how our relationships with animals may increase the risk of disease transmission among people, pets, livestock, and wildlife.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research

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[A, Approved For Public Release]