Milken Institute Launches “Early Warning” Initiative for Emerging Pandemic Threats as COVID-19 Cases Increase


WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Covid19–FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute devoted to accelerating biomedical innovation, today launched an initiative to build a global “early warning system” that detects and responds to emerging pathogens with pandemic potential. This effort aims to develop and implement a framework to monitor, identify, and track threats that could cause global harm, such as new viral or drug resistant strains.

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“COVID-19 caught the world by surprise, and it shouldn’t have,” said Esther Krofah, Executive Director of FasterCures. “Our hope is that by collaborating with leaders around the world, we can leverage emerging technologies and scientific advances to better address the various risks factors that could signal the next pandemic.”

The current global infrastructure for pandemic preparedness suffers from deep fragmentation, lack of coordination, little global collaboration, and virtually no sustained governmental and organizational commitment. In response, FasterCures is initiating this new global effort under the guidance of an advisory group consisting of esteemed global experts from the nonprofit, academic, finance, drug and diagnostic development, and technology communities.

The advisory group includes:

  • Dr. David Blazes, Physician, Epidemiology & Surveillance, Global Health Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dr. Rick Bright, Former Director, BARDA, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Dennis Carroll, Chair of the Leadership Board, Global Virome Project
  • Dr. Alex Denner, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Sarissa Capital
  • Dr. James Golden, CEO, WorldQuant Predictive
  • Dr. Anita Gupta, Physician Faculty, Department of Anesthesiology; Member of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advisory Panel for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Peter Jackson, Executive Director, INFEX Therapeutics
  • Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy; Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Policy, Duke University
  • Ms. Vanessa Moeder, Director, Global Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, and Agrigenomics, Illumina
  • Dr. John Nkengasong, Director, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Associate Professor and Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
  • Mr. Derek Riesenberg, Partner, Life Sciences Growth & Transactions Strategy, EY-Parthenon
  • Dr. Paul Tambyah, President-Elect; President; Professor of Medicine and Senior Consultant in Infectious Diseases, International Society of Infectious Diseases; Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection; National University Hospital, Singapore
  • Ms. Anupama Tantri, Executive Director, Global Vaccine Public Policy Development, Merck
  • Hon. Andy Weber, Senior Fellow, The Council on Strategic Risks

Early on in the pandemic, FasterCures expanded its portfolio to focus on responding to COVID-19, including by tracking the vaccine and therapeutic landscape on a daily basis, collaborating with public and private organizations to accelerate drug development, and advancing public policy recommendations.

“This new initiative is an extension of our ongoing COVID-19 response,” added Krofah. “By building a forward-looking, global platform such as this, future threats to health and wellbeing can be identified quickly, and acted upon in a coordinated way.”

About FasterCures

FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is working to build a system that is effective, efficient, and driven by a clear vision: patient needs above all else. We believe that transformative and life-saving science should be fully realized and deliver better treatments to the people who need them.

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that helps people build meaningful lives in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities. For more information, visit

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Jeff Valliere,, + 1 (202) 441-2894