ASM Hails Game-Changing Investment in Genomic Surveillance Enacted in American Rescue Plan

March 10, 2021

Critical funding for genomic surveillance and sequencing is a game-changing investment instrumental in fighting COVID-19 and future pandemics. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) hails the inclusion of $1.75 billion for CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program in the American Rescue Plan Act cleared by Congress for President Biden's signature.

In addition to bolstering viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, The American Rescue Plan will support public health infrastructure, fund workforce training and expand existing public and private partnerships to conduct this work. ASM applauds the inclusion of additional resources in the bill for COVID-19 testing, for equitable vaccine distribution and for research relief to some federally funded projects.

Major provisions of note in the bill include:
  • $50 billion for testing and contact tracing efforts, as well as manufacturing and procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • $20 billion for improving vaccine administration and distribution.
  • $600 million in research relief for projects funded through the National Science Foundation and disrupted by COVID-19.

“The work of CDC’s AMD program is fundamental to U.S. leadership in sequencing SARS-CoV-2 samples and strengthening this effort will allow us to get ahead and stay ahead of the COVID-19 variants of concern as they emerge and circulate,” said ASM CEO Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi. “While this transformative program has operated for several years behind the scenes, we must now meet the moment by giving CDC’s AMD program the resources it needs to not only help us tackle the immediate challenges we face in overcoming the current pandemic, but also strengthen infrastructure in preparation for the next one.”

Working with non-profit and industry advocates, ASM led efforts in support of potentially transformative investments in pathogen genomics and AMD. ASM has met with Members of Congress and CDC officials throughout the last year to spread awareness of the program and provide technical advice.

We thank Representatives Ami Bera and Scott Peters, and Senator Tammy Baldwin for their visionary leadership and for championing the program and its work to combat COVID-19 through introduction of the Tracking COVID-19 Variants Act earlier this year. ASM looks forward to serving as a bridge between public health labs and private sector partnerships in this “all-hands-on-deck” approach to viral sequencing.

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
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