BARDA’s suspension of funding for COVID-19 therapeutics risks repeating mistakes of past pandemics as it may cause industry to pull out of the development space, experts say. Industry sources are concerned the Biden administration is focusing on funding NIH at the expense of BARDA.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority quietly suspended funding of COVID-19 therapeutic work on 5 May, a move that even if temporary could lead drug companies, particularly smaller biotech firms, to abandon the space, experts caution.
The move is reminiscent of mistakes made in past pandemics, where research was stopped mid-course, leaving society less prepared the next time a similar problem struck as has occurred with Ebola and SARS. A prolonged pause could impact not only COVID treatments, but private industry’s willingness to trust the US government’s follow-through in the future.