NTI | bio Vice President Jaime Yassif, Ph.D., called on government leaders to take urgent steps to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity policy and practices during an October 18 hearing on “Strengthening Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards: Protecting Against Future Pandemics” convened by the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Yassif testified alongside Dr. Gerald “Gerry” Parker, associate dean for Global One Health at Texas A&M University.
The hearing evaluated the effectiveness of existing biosafety and biosecurity practices in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and to discuss future policy improvements.
“As we prepare to protect our country against another potential public health crisis, evaluating the effectiveness of our current biosecurity policies is essential to implement proper future safeguards,” said Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) in a press release published prior to the hearing.
Yassif’s testimony outlined existing global biosafety and biosecurity challenges, identified progress made under the Biden administration, and proposed actions that Congress can take to prevent the future pandemics. “To protect the U.S. population here at home, and save lives globally—including friends, allies, and populations around the world—it is in our self-interest to take an international approach to bolstering biosafety and biosecurity,” explained Yassif. “That’s because infectious diseases—no matter whether their origin is natural, accidental, or deliberate—do not respect borders.” Pressed by Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) on whether we are prepared for the next pandemic, Yassif unequivocally stated, “No.”
Watch the hearing and view Yassif’s full testimony here.