Center for Health Security applauds bipartisan introduction of the Disease X Act of 2023
June 6, 2023 – The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security applauds Representatives Lori Trahan, Michael C. Burgess, Dan Crenshaw, and Susie Lee for their bipartisan introduction of the Disease X Act of 2023.
The Disease X Act of 2023 is a critical piece of legislation that aims to ensure our country is prepared to respond to emerging diseases with the potential to cause global pandemics. Viral pathogens with pandemic potential can dramatically affect the United States’s population, military readiness, and economic and national security. Whether a future pandemic threat is naturally occurring, accidentally released, or deliberately caused, our best defense will be safe and effective medical countermeasures including therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics. The development of such countermeasures aids in pandemic response preparedness and serves as a deterrent against the development of biological weapons by adversaries and bad actors. The bipartisan introduction of this bill highlights the urgent need to accelerate the development of medical countermeasures for previously unidentified infectious disease threats, referred to as Disease X.
The Center for Health Security recommended the establishment of a “Disease X” Medical Countermeasures Program to both the House and Senate and is pleased that Congress is taking decisive action on this critical issue to save American lives.
To learn more about the importance of such actions and what they would mean for the nation’s health, economic, and national security, please visit our Disease X Medical Countermeasures Program project page, where you can find additional resources such as an infographic and links to 2 Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security reports on the subject. You can also learn more about the background and summary of the Disease X Act of 2023 here. A full list of supporters of this bill by leaders and experts in academia, industry, and nonprofits can be found here.
“This bill would be a major leap forward in our collective efforts to stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape,” states Center Deputy Director Anita Cicero, JD. “The Disease X Act of 2023 empowers BARDA to invest in modern technologies that will lead to new vaccines and drugs against pandemic-capable viruses. We commend Representatives Trahan, Burgess, Crenshaw, and Lee for their vision and urge all lawmakers to unite in support of this important bill.”
Senior Scholar Amesh Adalja, MD emphasizes that “Disease X is the culmination of what amounts to a conceptual shift in how the country prepares for infectious disease threats with the aim of enhancing resiliency in a truly proactive manner.”
We commend Representatives Trahan, Burgess, Crenshaw, and Lee for their leadership and commitment to public health and will continue to work with congressional and executive staff at all levels of government, health organizations, and other stakeholders to support policies and initiatives that promote public health and protect our communities.