Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The US National Biodefense Strategy

In September 2018, the White House announced its improved National Biodefense Strategy, as required by Congress.  Below I have excerpted its Goals, Objectives and Conclusions, listed on pages 6-8 of the Strategy.  As you can see, despite the claimed quest for a biodefense capability, the US government has failed miserably in accomplishing any and all of its goals for preventing and mitigating a biodefense event.  

Between FY 2001 and FY 2014,  $79 Billion dollars was spent on civilian biodefense by the US government. The public needs an accounting of why, with taxpayers funding numerous government agencies included within 8 separate cabinet-level Departments, a dedicated DHHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and 24 dedicated, university-affiliated centers, all for biodefense, no one seems to have been prepared for anything.  

Digging deeper, we learn that the US government, especially through Fauci's NIAID at NIH and USAID, has been sponsoring research in the US and in China to create coronavirus chimeras with "notable pathogenesis." In fact, special permission was granted to allow this research to go forward when SARS-CoV gain-of-function research was temporarily banned in the US.  Here the ASPR website explains that gain-of-function research improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease.  But that is okay, since such research is "informing public health and preparedness efforts, and furthering medical countermeasure development."  

Well then, insensible biodefense researchers and bureaucrats, where are those countermeasures and preparedness efforts?  You have been producing new, virulent coronaviruses for many years.  You failed on 4 tries at a vaccine in 2012.  You haven't produced a single drug.  

Did it ever occur to you to think that creating ever more virulent coronaviruses was not a good idea?  Did it cross your minds that your research might do more harm than good? Did anyone ever suggest it was time to obey the Biological Weapons Convention as written and originally interpreted? Did you and your international collaborators ever consider incinerating your creations and moving on to something else?

From the White House Report:

blue emphases are mine) 

The National Biodefense Strategy has five goals with associated objectives for strengthening the biodefense enterprise, establishing a layered risk management approach to countering biological threats and incidents. 

build risk awareness at the strategic level, through analyses and research efforts to characterize deliberate, accidental, and natural biological risks; and at the operational level, through surveillance and detection activities to detect and identify biological threats and anticipate biological incidents. 

Ensure decision-making is informed by intelligence, forecasting, and risk assessment. 1.2: Ensure that domestic and international biosurveillance and information-sharing systems are coordinated and are capable of timely bioincident prevention, detection, assessment, response, and recovery

GOAL 2: ENSURE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE CAPABILITIES TO PREVENT BIOINCIDENTS. The United States will work to prevent the outbreak and spread of naturally occurring disease, and 
minimize the chances of laboratory accidents. The United States will also strengthen biosecurity to prevent hostile actors from obtaining or using biological material, equipment, and expertise for nefarious purposes, consistent with the United States Government’s approach to countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism. Goal 2 will ensure we have the capabilities necessary to disrupt plots, degrade technical capabilities, and deter support for terrorists seeking to use WMD. This goal also recognizes the "dual use" natures of the life sciences and biotechnology, in which the same science and technology base that improves health, promotes innovation, and protects the environment, can also be misused to facilitate a biological attack. The United States seeks to prevent the misuse of science and technology while promoting and enhancing legitimate use and innovation. 

OBJECTIVES: 2.1: Promote measures to prevent or reduce the spread of naturally occurring infectious diseases. 2.3: Deter, detect, degrade, disrupt, deny, or otherwise prevent nation-state and non-state actors’ attempts to pursue, acquire, or use biological weapons, related materials, or their means of delivery. 2.2: 
Strengthen global health security capacities to prevent local bioincidents from becoming epidemics. 2.4: Strengthen biosafety and biosecurity practices and oversight to mitigate risks of bioincidents. 7 

GOAL 3: 
ENSURE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE PREPAREDNESS TO REDUCE THE IMPACTS OF BIOINCIDENTS. The United States will take measures to reduce the impacts of bioincidents, including maintaining a vibrant national science and technology base to support biodefense; ensuring a strong public health infrastructure; developing, updating, and exercising response capabilities; establishing risk communications; developing and effectively distributing and dispensing medical countermeasures; and preparing to collaborate across the country and internationally to support biodefense

OBJECTIVES: 3.1: Ensure a vibrant and innovative national science and technology base to support biodefense. 3.6: Enhance preparedness to limit the spread of disease through 
Community Mitigation Measures (CMMs). 3.2: Ensure a strong public and veterinary health infrastructure. 3.7: Enhance preparedness to support decontamination. 3.3: Develop, exercise, and update prevention, response, and recovery plans and capabilities. 3.8: Strengthen preparedness to operate and collaborate across the United States, including the U.S. territories. 3.4: Develop, exercise, and update risk communication plans and promote consistent messaging to inform key audiences, expedite desired response actions, and address public uncertainty and fear. 3.9: Strengthen international preparedness to support international response and recovery capabilities. 3.5: Enhance preparedness to save lives through MCMs[Medical countermeasures, such as drugs and vaccines, which would include the chloroquine drugs--Nass]

GOAL 4: 
RAPIDLY RESPOND TO LIMIT THE IMPACTS OF BIOINCIDENTS. The United States will respond rapidly to limit the impacts of bioincidents through information-sharing and networking; coordinated response operations and investigations; and effective public messaging. OBJECTIVES: 4.1: Compile and share biothreat and bioincident information to enable appropriate decision-making and response operations across all levels of government and with non-governmental, private sector, and international entities, as appropriate. 4.3: Conduct operations and investigations, and use all available tools to hold perpetrators accountable. 4.2: Conduct federal response operations and activities in coordination with relevant non-federal actors to contain, control, and rapidly mitigate impacts of biothreats or bioincidents. 4.4: Execute risk-informed, accurate, timely, and actionable public messaging. 

GOAL 5: 
FACILITATE RECOVERY TO RESTORE THE COMMUNITY, THE ECONOMY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT AFTER A BIOINCIDENT. The United States will take actions to restore critical infrastructure services and capability; coordinate recovery activities; provide recovery support and long-term mitigation; and minimize cascading effects elsewhere in the world. OBJECTIVES: 5.1: Promote restoration of critical infrastructure capability and capacity to enable the resumption of vital U.S. activities. 5.3: Provide recovery support and conduct long-term mitigation actions to promote resilience. 5.2: Ensure coordination of recovery activities across federal and SLTT governments and, as appropriate, international, non-governmental, and private sector partners to enable effective and efficient recovery operations. 5.4: Reduce the cascading effects of international biological incidents on the global economy, health, and security. 8 

CONCLUSION The risks from biological threats cannot be reduced to zero – but they can and must be managed. Wide-ranging threats require a comprehensive approach to minimizing the risks. Through this National Biodefense Strategy, the United States Government will optimize its own efforts, and harness the work of essential partners—inside government and outside, domestically and internationally—to understand, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the full range of biological threats that can harm the American people and our partners.

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