guarding the potatoes
VIP Subscribing Member
Diamond VIP Contributor
- Aug 9, 2004
- Reaction score
- Mt. Pleasant, SC
Not surprising given that (1) Science is a declared enemy of this administration and (2) operated out of the USAID office, and Trump and his bureaucrats have targeted "foreign aid" budgets - where the USAID gets most of its funding.
But this is idiotic.
But this is idiotic.
In a move that worries many public health experts, the federal government is quietly shutting down a surveillance program for dangerous animal viruses that someday may infect humans.
The United Nations Environment Program estimates that a new animal disease that can also infect humans is discovered every four months. Ending the program, experts fear, will leave the world more vulnerable to lethal pathogens like Ebola and MERS that emerge from unexpected places, such as bat-filled trees, gorilla carcasses and camel barns.
The program, known as Predict and run by the United States Agency for International Development, was inspired by the 2005 H5N1 bird flu scare. Launched 10 years ago, the project has cost about $207 million.
. . .
Dennis Carroll, the former director of USAID’s emerging threats division who helped design Predict, oversaw it for a decade and retired when it was shut down. The surveillance project is closing because of “the ascension of risk-averse bureaucrats,” he said.
Because USAID’s chief mission is economic aid, he added, some federal officials felt uncomfortable funding cutting-edge science like tracking exotic pathogens.
Congress, along with the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were “enormously supportive,” said Dr. Carroll, who is now a fellow at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.
“But things got complicated in the last two years, and by January, Predict was essentially collapsed into hibernation.”
The end of the program “is definitely a loss,” said Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit global health organization that received funding from the program. “Predict was an approach to heading off pandemics, instead of sitting there waiting for them to emerge and then mobilizing. That’s expensive."
Predict, a government research program, sought to identify animal viruses that might infect humans and to head off new pandemics.