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The Biden administration announces a new partnership with 50 countries to suppress future pandemics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe BidenThe country’s government will help 50 countries identify and respond to infectious diseases, aiming to prevent pandemics such as the COVID-19 outbreak that suddenly halted normal life around the world in 2020.

U.S. government officials will work with the countries to develop better testing, surveillance, communications and preparedness for such outbreaks in those countries, said a senior Biden administration official who briefed reporters on the program on Monday on condition of anonymity. The official did not share a list of countries that will participate in the program.

The announcement comes as countries struggle to reach a global agreement on responses to future pandemics. Four years into the coronavirus pandemic, prospects for a pandemic treaty signed by all 194 members of the World Health Organization are shaky.

The U.S. program will rely on several government agencies – including the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – to help countries improve their response to infectious diseases. refine.

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Congo is one country where work has already begun, the official told reporters. The US government is helping Congo with its response to an outbreak of the MPOX virus, including vaccinations. Mpox, a virus that belongs to the same family as the virus that causes smallpox, causes painful skin lesions. Last year, the World Health Organization declared mpox a global emergency, with more than 91,000 cases reported across 100 countries to date.

The White House on Tuesday released a website with the names of the countries participating in the program. Biden officials are trying to get 100 countries into the program by the end of the year.

The US has spent billions of dollars on this effort. Biden, a Democrat, is asking Congress for $1.2 billion for global health security efforts in his annual budget proposal.

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