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Fauci’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Plan to Fight the Next Pandemic

·2 min read

Dr. Anthony Fauci is pushing an “ambitious and expensive plan” to develop “prototype” vaccines against a number of different types of viruses so that the nation is better prepared if the next pandemic isn’t caused by a coronavirus, Gina Kolata of The New York Times reports.

Scientists had studied coronaviruses for years, meaning that they already had the necessary knowledge and tools to develop vaccines against Covid-19. “But what will happen if the next pandemic comes from a virus that causes Lassa fever, or from the Sudan strain of Ebola, or from a Nipah virus?” Kolata asks.

As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci’s answer is a program that would cost “a few billion dollars a year” and have researchers study the molecular structure of 20 different virus families and how the body can fight them. The project is reportedly the brainchild of Dr. Barney Graham, deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Graham pitched the idea in February of 2017, and Fauci told the Times that he’s been pushing it more recently in talks with the White House and others.

“If we get the funding, which I believe we will, it likely will start in 2022,” Fauci said, adding that prototypes for half of the virus families might be expected in the first five years.

Much of the funding would come from Fauci’s agency, which has a budget of just over $6 billion this year, but the plan would require additional money from Congress. “It would require pretty large sums of money,” Fauci told the Times. “But after what we’ve been through, it’s not out of the question.”

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