The Open Philanthropy Project awarded a $2.5 million grant to the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense on Thursday, which will be used to help the organization continue to assess biodefense, identify needed changes and make recommendations.
In a 2015 report, the panel made 33 recommendations for government to strengthen its national biodefense and optimize investments. One of the recommendations suggested that the White House draft a National Biodefense Strategy, which is expected to be released in the near future.
Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and a co-chair of the panel, said the panel has already had a great impact on the nation’s biodefense. In addition to the 2015 report, the panel released an assessment on biodefense indicators in 2016 and a report on the defense of animal agriculture in 2017.
“Through the Farm Bill, reauthorization of the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act, Intelligence Authorization, the National Defense Authorization Act, forensics reform and strong counterterrorism and counterproliferation legislation, Congress and the administration have some great opportunities ahead to better defend the nation against biological threats,” Ridge said.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a co-chair of the panel, said that while the world has become smaller since 100 million people died from pandemic influenza in 1918, the threat has not.
“Far more needs to be done to prepare for another catastrophic biological event — whether man-made or from nature,” Lieberman said. “With this in mind, the support we receive today from Open Philanthropy will allow us to further advance the recommendations the panel identified in our National Blueprint for Biodefense and subsequent reports. We thank Open Philanthropy for their leadership and support on this critical issue.”