The Consortium of Scientists for Pandemic Preparedness is a partnership among the Institute of Life Science Entrepreneurship at Kean University and affiliated thought leaders in academia and industry.
The Consortium of Scientists for Pandemic Preparedness (CSPP) is focused on improving the world’s ability to respond to next-generation infectious disease outbreaks. Formed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our group of scientists from diverse backgrounds in academia and the pharmaceutical industry was formed with a unifying focus: 1) to assess emerging infectious threats to the health of our global community, 2) to prioritize existing therapeutic interventions based on these threats, and 3) to seed translational efforts to understand and address critical gaps in our medical preparedness to meet these threats.
As events surrounding COVID-19 have exposed gaps in federal, state, and local responses, and limited pipelines in the industrial and academic research and development communities, we aim to address current challenges to ensure the appropriate therapeutic, diagnostic, and vaccine products are considered. We believe by identifying the nature of future infectious disease threats and aligning complementary social and physical scientists, we can accelerate the development of innovative therapies and medical technologies that will enable more robust public health approaches to thwart upcoming pandemics, minimize death and suffering, ease the economic burden of mitigation efforts, and rapidly progress through the next pandemic assault.
To realize this effort, we have brought together thought leaders, innovators, and practitioners to be a part of an open forum to discuss and advance the field of pandemic preparedness research, including public health and administration experts, epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, chemists, clinicians, and data scientists, from both industry and academia. A shared common interest, awareness, and energy directed towards the development and improvement of technologies will lead to actionable outcomes in research, product development and clinical advancement. The consortium will also serve in an advisory capacity to public policy and government leaders.
WHY IS CSPP NEEDED?
Despite the best efforts of the multiple communities at the scientific, clinical, and governmental levels, the COVID-19 pandemic caught much of the world by surprise and has exacted staggering costs in terms of mortality, morbidity, and economics. Previous infectious disease outbreaks also arose from the coronavirus family, including SARS-CoV-1 in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2012. In fact, at least seven members of this family are known, underscoring a multiplicity of global health threats. Throughout world history, we have learned of the frequency of pandemics and their potential to dramatically alter global health. The Spanish Flu of 1918 was the deadliest outbreak, infecting approximately a third of the planet’s population and resulting in the loss of tens of millions of lives. Other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria represent constant threats at the pandemic level, infecting 200+ million people a year and killing 2 million.
While the best practices to address these pandemics must be maintained, we assert that new paradigms in preparedness must be created and enabled to change the landscape of global health. Our consortium has been created to be ahead of the curve through a scientifically informed process of assessing emerging pandemics and planning for therapeutic responses for both prophylaxis and treatment. Where drug therapy and/or a vaccine is not available, the group will prioritize resources to catalyze the translation of research to address these gaps. Though we cannot solve these problems alone, the consortium will be an important contributor and strengthener to an ecosystem that connects with industry, academia and government.
Throughout 2021, the CSPP plans to grow the network of key opinion leaders across disparate but complementary disciplines related to pandemics. We are in the process of establishing organizational governance including a Steering Committee that will decide on programming activities as well as continuing to grow the larger community. We have established Working Groups with focus on specific topic areas and challenges but plan to add more as we learn more about the needs and goals of the community.
In the long-term, CSPP would like to establish a sustainable model with flexible infrastructure, collaborations, and operations. The Steering Committee will explore funding models for partnerships to support the consortium's programming and wider participation in the community.