Report reveals methods to improve nation's response to pandemics

A recently released report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology outlines ways to improve the nation’s response to global pandemics.

The report, written in the aftermath of the country’s H1N1 response in 2009, details steps that can quicken response times, avoid production bottlenecks, lower costs and reduce production complexity, reports.
The report, which was sent to President Obama, identifies specific areas, such as fill and finish, sterility testing and seed influenza strains as zones of improvement.
Fill and finish, the last phase of drug production, was viewed as a particularly nettlesome. Recommendations for fill and finish included improvement in machinery, multi-dose vials, and facilities, reports. The Council stated that sterility testing can be improved by using new methods to incubate vaccine material. By developing influenza seed strains, the group reported, vaccine creation can be hastened.
The Council also advised that the facilities and equipment should be adopted that can process different vaccines at different times of the year. If this is adopted, however, it said that guidance would be needed from regulators to avoid safety violations and production delays.
Created by an executive order in 2001, the President’s Council of Advisor’s on Science and Technology advises the president on scientific matters. The group also makes policy recommendations.