Letter: The end goal is technology that fights all pathogens
Updates to the letter
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Hannah Kuchler’s article âPreparing for the Next Pandemicâ (Big Read, August 19) raises important questions about pandemics and preparedness for threats to public health.
The decade since the H1N1 flu virus, and the past 18 months in particular, has taught us a lot. As one expert notes, it is essential to maintain factories in a ready state during the âinterpandemic periodâ. It is difficult to maintain partially publicly funded facilities designed to respond to threats to public health. This requires constant investment from government and private industry – commercial contracts alone are not enough and imposing full preparation costs on taxpayers is a significant challenge given the government’s many priorities.
In the United States, of four government-funded manufacturing facilities, Emergent’s is the only one to provide a vaccine drug substance to help immunize tens of millions of people around the world.
We do not agree with those who advocate throwing away everything that has been learned over the past decade. While this approach has not delivered as many doses as quickly as we, or anyone else, would have liked, the country’s manufacturing capacity is greater today than in 2009. Further expansion is needed. , but it requires more investment in preparation than the government. was ready to do.
We also oppose our qualification, cited by the article, of “technology of yesteryear”. Vaccine manufacturing is complex, and advancements are not as straightforward as the next upgrade download. Fortunately, several technology platforms have been shown to be effective in developing antibodies to help protect people against the coronavirus.
Importantly, despite more than a century of research, no one has yet developed a technological platform that works against all pathogens. We’re all still looking for this, but until it happens, an effective national preparedness strategy must be able to quickly manufacture products based on many different types of technology.
We are not yet out of this pandemic and Emerging’s priority remains to manufacture as many vaccines as quickly as possible. We look forward to using our experience to help shape and improve our public health systems.
Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States