March 18, 2021

International Committee Seeks to Improve Preparedness and Response for Pandemic, Influenza

An international committee established by the National Academy of Medicine is part of a global initiative to advance pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response. NAM intends to examine aspects of the response to COVID-19 to see how lessons learned could inform future preparedness efforts for pandemics and seasonal influenza. According to NAM’s concept paper (PDF) for the project, the committee will assess capabilities, technologies, processes, and policies developed for the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on vaccine development. The committee’s objective is to “provide recommendations to improve the global design, composition, clinical trials, production, scale-up, regulatory approval, [and] distribution of influenza vaccines, and post-approval surveillance for adverse events,” the concept paper explains.

Four concurrent consensus study committees are set to develop recommendations in four focus areas: vaccine research and development; vaccine distribution and supply chains; public health interventions and countermeasures, such as non-pharmaceutical interventions, diagnostics, and treatment strategies; and global coordination, partnerships, and financing for preparedness and response. The two committees focused on vaccines will develop recommendations for optimizing research and development and strengthening distribution and supply chains for future seasonal and pandemic influenza events. A third group will recommend best practices for implementing public health measures, diagnostics, and therapeutics to mitigate the spread of influenza. The goal of the fourth consensus study committee is to recommend ways to strengthen global collaborations, regulations, and financing structures related to influenza vaccination.

The NAM international committee was established in coordination with the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Global Affairs. Further details on the committee’s efforts and the ongoing consensus studies are available from NAM’s website.