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Letter to the Editor on “The Coming Storm”

The Washington Post

In a letter to the editor of The Washington Post, adding an additional angle to a hard-hitting op-ed, “The Coming Storm,” by the paper’s Editorial Board, Research!America’s Ellie Dehoney, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, makes the case for the need to fund the NIH’s pandemic preparedness R&D plan:

“Another pandemic is not just a threat; it is an inevitability. Pandemics are emerging with greater frequency now than at any period in recorded history. Another uncomfortable reality: We were better prepared for the coronavirus than we are for other viral threats. Because severe acute respiratory syndrome and several other deadly coronaviruses preceded this one, the foundational research and development needed for the rapid development of coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines was in place when the virus surfaced. There are critical gaps in the research and development around other viral families, leaving us vulnerable to an even greater pandemic crisis than with the coronavirus.

“The National Institutes of Health developed a pandemic preparedness research and development plan that takes a strategic approach to mitigating the risk across the viral families most likely to breed pandemics. Covid-19 has taken nearly 6.5 million lives across the globe. Knowing we are even less prepared for the next pandemic, why aren’t we funding the NIH plan? Inaction is a decision. In this case, a deadly one.”

— Eleanor Dehoney, Arlington, VA