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Funds for Future Pandemic Preparedness Sought

The White House is seeking $65 billion over the next 10 years to prepare for future pandemics, according to the Financial Times.

It adds that the White House plans to ask Congress for an initial infusion of about $15 billion to $20 billion as part of the $3.5 trillion spending package the Biden Administration is trying to get through Congress. The funds, FT says, would help establish an office of pandemic preparedness to oversee and coordinate pandemic responses across the federal government. Science adds that about 40 percent of the funding would be for vaccine development, almost 20 percent for treatments, and the rest would fund diagnostics, early warning systems, better public health and biosafety, and global health initiatives.

"Five years from now we need to be in a far stronger position to stop infectious diseases before they become global pandemics, like COVID-19," Eric Lander, the White House scientific advisor, says, according to FT.

But Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, tells Science that this won't be enough. "It's a good down payment, but it hardly will provide enough resources for a real plan," Osterholm adds there. 

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