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March 31, 2021


"We must therefore dramatically ramp up surveillance for Sarbecoviruses at the human–animal interface and monitor carefully for future SARS-CoV emergence in the human population."

In the immediate few years after 2001, the government threw great pots of money at counterterrorism efforts. I personally suspect that most of them were overkill, but one cannot help but notice that there has not been another successful terrorist attack in the U.S. since on such a large scale.

One hopes that a similar scale of resources will be poured into public health surveillance and pandemic preparedness in light of last year's experience. Given how much wealth was lost from last year's pandemic, we could afford to spend many hundreds of billions on such counter-pandemic efforts and still come out ahead, as long as the money is spent effectively.

Re-funding the surveillance work in China that had been cut during the Trump administration (URL below) would be a good place to start. Strategic subsidies to the vaccine industry would also be a good use of funds.


Lynn Klotz, a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, has written a book (along with Edward Sylvester, an Arizona State University professor) entitled "Breeding Bio Insecurity: How U.S. Biodefense is Exporting Fear, Globalizing Risk, and Making Us All Less Secure," as well as a number of commentaries on this (see https://armscontrolcenter.org/issues/biological-and-chemical-weapons/members-of-scientists-working-group/lynn-klotz-publications/) relevant to your concerns.

There is something to be said that focusing research on these agents just puts in one place targets for malevolent actors to be able to get their hands on them. Food for thought, although I think the need for surveillance, if not concentrated in one place, is a good one.

Thanks for the comment

I'm in Germany, within the EU, which has botched its vaccine procurement operation horribly. Compare the USA, the UK and Israel, all three well on their way to safety. I put the difference down to experience in defence procurement. The USA and the UK have centuries of accumulated experience, undoubtedly put to full use when procuring vaccine supplies for the defence of the nation. Compare the EU. Its supra-national Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, has zero such experience. I suspect it got eaten for breakfast by the lawyers of Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca and J&J.

Neo-liberals, enthusiasts for a minimal State sector, don't underestimate the value of seasoned experienced professionalism in the service of the public.


Your label is off. It is NOT Neo-liberals that are enthusiasts for a minimal State sector.

Quite the opposite, indeed.

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