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Responding to the Coronavirus Threat through Investments in Fundamental Biomedical Research

From the Public Affairs Committee of the Biophysical Society

Executive Summary

The battle against the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is being waged by health care workers and politicians who are implementing the tools of medicine and public policy in an attempt to track the spread of infection, limit its transmission, and treat the sickest individuals. However, effectively containing and limiting the spread of COVID-19, as well as responding to future pandemics by emerging, as yet unknown, infectious diseases, will require substantial increases in our knowledge of how this virus and other pathogens infect humans, how the human immune system responds to infection, and how to leverage this understanding to develop new vaccines and drugs. These needs can only be addressed by substantial increased funding for fundamental biomedical research, as supported through congressional appropriations to federal agencies such as the NIH, NSF and DOE. These funding increases need to be immediate in order to effectively respond to COVID-19, such as to support test and vaccine development. Additionally, any funding increases must be sustained in order to better understand not only this virus but other infectious diseases that could spark the next global pandemic, such as to support the technological infrastructure needed to study these infectious agents and the underlying biology of how pathogens infect humans and how the human immune system responds. Substantially increasing funding in fundamental biomedical research is not only our best weapon in eradicating COVID-19 entirely, but also in preventing future pandemics from killing millions more and ravaging our economies and societies.

Read the full recommendations here.

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