Speed Reads

staying ahead of the game

2 ways the U.S. is trying to get ahead of the next pandemic

The United States certainly isn't out of the woods when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn't stopped the country's top scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, from trying to stay ahead of the game. Fauci is at the forefront of two federal projects that are aiming to tackle other viruses that could cause the next global health crisis.

First, there's the Biden administration's $3 billion-plus Antiviral Program for Pandemics, which is aimed at "accelerating clinical testing of promising" antiviral drug treatments, as well as "expanding the basic science and knowledge need to discover new antiviral medicines," Fauci told The Scientific American in an interview. COVID-19 is the "primary mover" for the program, Fauci said. But if it's successful, he said "it can be directed at any virus of pandemic potential."

Meanwhile, Fauci is also promoting another ambitious strategy that is focusing on vaccine development. This program is still awaiting funding, but if that money does come in soon, the goal will be to develop vaccine "prototypes" to protect against viruses from about 20 families that could spark a pandemic, including the viruses that causes diseases like Lassa fever, Ebola, or Nipah, The New York Times reports. Read more at The Scientific American and The New York Times.