The 2019 coronavirus, otherwise known as 2019-nCoV, is spreading faster and further each day. This past Sunday, infectious disease experts told The New York Times that a full blown pandemic is increasingly likely, if not inevitable.
Why, then, is the response of the United States government lagging so far behind? To date, the White House has assembled a task force, called for airport health screenings, and issued a variety of travel restrictions. Most recently, Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency.
None of those measures, however, confronts the epidemic for what it is: a danger to national health security, and to human health at large. One federal agency that specializes in neutralizing threats of this sort is the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA for short.
Originally published on Forbes (February 4, 2020)