Does the US have the biotechnology and other tools to deal with the next wave of diseases?

|

[Editor’s note: Tom Frieden served seven and a half years as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He talks about health challenges facing the nation, as well as memorable moments from his tenure.]

What immediate health issues are facing the Trump administration?

Tom Frieden: Zika is not over. It is likely to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean for months and years to come, and we still don’t fully understand the range of birth defects it causes. Antibiotic resistance in the U.S. is something that threatens to undermine modern medicine…And we are always concerned about an influenza epidemic.

How prepared is the CDC to deal with these problems?

It’s a big problem that when there is an emerging threat, we are not able to surge or work as rapidly as we should, as a result of a lack of additional funding and legislative authority. When there is an earthquake, the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t have to go to Congress and say, ‘Will you give us money for this?’ But the CDC does…A blind spot anywhere puts any of us at risk.

What do you consider unfinished business or a regret?

I hoped that we would be over the finish line on polio [eradication] by now…[But] we have further to go.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Is the U.S. Ready for Future Disease Threats?

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia