On January 25, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) released a “discussion draft” version of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act). The discussion draft outlines bipartisan legislation to strengthen the nation’s public health system and modernize medical preparedness and response systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PREVENT Pandemics Act discussion draft proposes the following provisions:
- Improve strategy and coordination among public health preparedness agencies
- Strengthen supply chain and government stockpiles of medical products, including masks, drugs, vaccines, and tests
- Revitalize the public and community health workforce
- Support research on the long-term health impacts of long COVID
- Enhance the development of tests, treatments, and vaccines and mitigate critical shortages of medical products
Senators Murray and Burr are also considering incorporating additional proposals—including establishing the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health—and other provisions to strengthen biomedical advanced research in the final bill. The Senate HELP Committee plans to mark up the PREVENT Pandemics Act in the coming weeks.