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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. 

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.