I recently argued that it’s time for our community to be more ambitious.

And when it comes to preventing pandemics, it’s starting to happen.

Andrew Snyder-Beattie is a programme officer at Open Philanthropy, a foundation which has more than $1 billion available to fund big pandemic-prevent projects. He and Ethan Alley (co-CEO at Alvea) recently wrote an exciting list of projects they’d like to see get founded, including:

  • An international early detection centre
  • Actually good PPE
  • Rapid and broad-spectrum antivirals and vaccines
  • A bioweapons watchdog
  • Self-sterilising buildings
  • Refuges

One of these ideas is already happening. Alvea aims to produce a cheap, flexible vaccine platform using a new type of vaccine (DNA vaccines), starting with an Omicron-specific shot. In two months, they hired 35 people and started preclinical trials.

The FTX Future Fund is also interested in many similar ideas.

The above are technical solutions, which make it possible for a relatively small number of people to make a significant difference to the problem. But policy change is also an important angle.

Guarding Against Pandemics was an effort to lobby the US government for $30 billion in funding for pandemic prevention. Unfortunately the relevant bill didn’t pass, but the sum at stake made it clearly worth trying.

Efforts in the UK might be more successful — the country is currently refreshing its biosecurity policy.

If you might be able to help make big biosecurity projects happen:

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