Biden admin preps for next pandemic as Delta variant surges

Halfway through the second year, the Biden administration has reorganized the leadership of federal testing. Michael Iademarco is back at CDC, having led HHS Covid-19 testing for the past seven month. Dean Winslow is a Stanford University professor of medicine with expertise in infectious disease. He will be heading the group. This group has been crucial in planning Bidens school testing efforts.Jay Butler, the CDCs deputy chief of infectious diseases has been assigned to HHS Office as the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response to assist in the planning of the government's Covid-19 testing strategy.This is a sign that we take testing issues seriously and to also be thinking about the future, and building the infrastructure needed for testing in preparation for the next pandemic. Our vaccine appears to be very effective against variants at the moment, but we are not sure what the future holds. We will need to have a robust testing strategy, and the execution of that strategy until this pandemic is over.The federal government is looking for ways to make sure that the public-private partnerships created during the pandemic don't end with the current crisis.The HHS official stated that we are currently looking at financial arrangements to ensure industry is prepared for any infectious disease emergencies. The industrial base expansion program was based on a lot of the past year's experience.One area of interest is the maintenance of a stockpile for testing supplies, such as reagents and tubes to transport patient samples.The HHS official stated that they are currently talking with industry to determine the best way to get industry ready as quickly as possible for a potential pandemic.Companies are also encouraged to create at-home diagnostic tools that can detect multiple respiratory viruses such as Covid-19. Becker stated that while the U.S. did not record any flu cases in the 2020-21 flu season (which was the most recent, but public health laboratories are already planning for the possible reemergence of flu and regional outbreaks of Covid-19. This could be problematic for doctors as the symptoms and early signs of both diseases can be very similar.Through its program Rapid Acceleration for Diagnostics, the NIH leads federal efforts to support the development of better Covid-19 test through its venture-like Rapid Acceration of Diagnostics program. Bruce Tromberg (NIH scientist in charge of the initiative) said that the agency is expected to give out $100 million more to help commercialize new testing technologies by 2021.