ASM Urges Congress to Invest $40 Million in CDC AMD Program
The CDC's Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program has played a critical role in the COVID-19 response, from enabling the U.S. to sequence SARS-CoV-2 shortly after its initial detection to sequencing tens of thousands of samples each week to track viral variants. The detection and spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant further underscores the importance of this program to public health.
Thanks to passage earlier this year of the Tracking COVID-19 Variants Act in the American Rescue Plan, the supplemental resources to tackle it are there. However, the long-term funding trajectory of the program must be considered. On Dec. 6, ASM issued the following stakeholder letter to House and Senate offices calling for the final FY 2022 appropriations bill to include $40 million for AMD.
Dear Chairman Leahy, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger
cc: The Honorable Patty Murray, The Honorable Roy Blunt, The Honorable Tom Cole
We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully request that you include at least $40 million for the Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education and Related Agencies bill, as proposed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor HHS Education. AMD has played a critical role in the response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, from enabling the United States to sequence SARS-CoV-2 within 1 week of its initial detection in this country, to sequencing tens of thousands of samples each week to track viral variants.
Sustained and reliable annual funding increases are needed to keep our investments in the AMD program up to date and continue the important collaborative work and training programs bolstered by supplemental funding. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technology continues to advance at an astounding pace and yet funding for the AMD base budget has remained flat since the program’s inception in 2014. The current base funding level of $30 million is not sufficient to meet increasing demands for the equipment, training and expertise required to support state and local health departments with precision public health and expanded collaborations. Returning to this level post-pandemic also threatens the infrastructure that has been built over the past year that has strengthened the core program.
Emergency AMD funding through the American Rescue Plan Act has been instrumental as new variants threatened our progress against COVID-19 and will help build a public health workforce that is adept at applying genomic technologies and has access to up-to-date sequencing technology and the high-performance computing resources they need to analyze that data. We thank Congress for the significant resources it has provided to the program in the near term, but we know that short-term funding does not build sustainable public health systems.
The CDC AMD program uses NGS to bring precision medicine to public health. AMD gives us new tools to detect disease faster, identify outbreaks sooner, and protect people from emerging and evolving disease threats. Beyond viral surveillance, it informs vaccine development, helps to identify and track antimicrobial resistance and foodborne illness, and informs the development of diagnostics for new, existing and emerging diseases.
We recognize that you face difficult choices with respect to the FY 2022 budget; however, as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious threats, we must grow and sustain the base budget for this unique program. Annual sustained investments are the best way to build a public health infrastructure that is prepared to tackle the next health crisis. Although the proposed increases fall short of the $60 million we believe is needed in annual appropriations next year, we thank you for your support and respectfully request that you allocate the Senate-proposed $40 million for the CDC AMD program in FY 22 to protect public health both now and in the future.
American Association for Clinical Chemistry
American Association of Bioanalysts
American Medical Technologists
American Society for Clinical Pathology
American Society for Microbiology
American Society for Virology
American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
Association for Molecular Pathology
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Big Cities Health Coalition
College of American Pathologists
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Global Health Technologies Coalition
Helix Op Co, LLC
HIV Medicine Association
Infectious Diseases Society of America
National Association of County and City Health Officials
3 of 3
National Independent Laboratory Association
Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP)
The Gerontological Society of America
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Trust for America's Health