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Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness

Our global commitment to helping ensure health for all is built on developing innovative medicines and vaccines and making sure they’re accessible to people around the globe.

In the developing world, that might mean working to remove barriers so life-saving vaccines get to infants and children in even the most remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In the US, the challenge faced might involve protecting Americans against biosecurity and pandemic influenza threats.

Less than two decades into the 21st century, Americans have lived through a number of these threats, ranging from mailings of anthrax-containing letters to Congressional offices, to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic that sickened millions, hospitalized more than 250,000, and caused more than 10,000 deaths. 

In response to these crises, the US government established the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). BARDA and several other US government agencies  are responsible for making sure the right medical countermeasures, such as medicines and vaccines, are available for Americans in the event of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) accidents, incidents and attacks, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.

50 million

doses within four months of outbreak is our goal

We have worked with BARDA since its inception to help develop and ensure access to novel vaccines and medicines that support the US Government’s goals for biosecurity.

Specifically, our biosecurity-related work with BARDA support has resulted in two important firsts:

  • The first FDA-approved medical countermeasure under the Animal Efficacy Rule for the treatment of inhaled anthrax.
  • FDA approval of an adjuvanted H5N1 influenza vaccine, the first-time an adjuvanted pandemic flu vaccine has become available for Americans. A different approach to the traditional flu vaccine, adjuvants could translate to a greater number of doses being available more quickly at the time of a pandemic.

In 2013, we amplified our commitment to US biodefense and pandemic preparedness by joining a public-private collaboration led by Texas A&M University and supported by BARDA that will result in the establishment of one of three national Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM). The CIADMs are the centerpiece of the US government’s biosecurity and pandemic preparedness efforts, and when operational in the coming years, the Texas A&M CIADM’s goal will be able to produce 50 million dose of pandemic-influenza vaccine within four months of an identified pandemic flu outbreak.

The work GSK does with BARDA and academic research and manufacturing leaders such as Texas A&M – activity that requires collaboration across a variety of disciplines – will help ensure that Health For All will be more than a simple phrase in the event of a global threat to biosecurity.

(Image courtesy of Texas A&M Health Science Center.)

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