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November 14, 2017

The Critical Role of Biomedical Research in Pandemic Preparedness

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2017;318(18):1757-1758. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.15033

Unusual reports of Kaposi sarcoma and Pneumocystis carinii (now P jiroveci) pneumonia in previously healthy gay men in 1981 alerted the world to a new infectious disease threat, heralding the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The medical and public health communities faced a steep learning curve in coordinating public health and biomedical research efforts as the pandemic evolved.

Since then, international partners in academia, government, and industry have devoted substantial efforts to pandemic preparedness, building on lessons learned from HIV and other outbreaks ranging from the abrupt onset of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) to the spread of Zika in the Americas to the devastating outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.