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To achieve this goal, the committee recommends strengthening Russian policies and programs by:

  • focusing on surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, and development of countermeasures (e.g., drugs and vaccines) capable of addressing diseases in the broadest sense

  • improving capabilities to detect and diagnose new, reemerging, and antibiotic-resistant pathogens in both rural and urban settings, including upgraded communication systems to provide timely and accurate information

  • integrating human and animal disease surveillance

  • monitoring food and water supplies for safety and potability

  • supporting well-focused research projects that strengthen the base of fundamental scientific knowledge

  • strengthening programs to commercialize scientific findings within a regulatory framework that supports public health and protects agriculture

  • developing an improved understanding of the relationships between infectious agents and important non-communicable chronic diseases, a priority of growing global interest

  • supporting the emergence of a strong domestic biotechnology sector that enhances efforts to combat infectious diseases affecting the Russian population

  • developing and implementing effective security procedures at hundreds of facilities that can propagate, store, or distribute pathogens which, if diverted, could be used for bioterrorism; an important initial step would be to conduct a careful nationwide inventory of strains and consolidate many collections where appropriate

  • promoting broad transparency of Russian research and other public health prevention and control activities involving dangerous pathogens, in order to reduce international apprehensions regarding the possible misuse of Russian research or the unauthorized diversion of infectious agents; comparable transparency would also be expected in other countries

  • recruiting, training, and retaining an expanded cadre of biomedical scientists, medical doctors, veterinarians, plant pathologists, epidemiologists, and other relevant specialists equipped with modern technology and positioned to deal with infectious disease threats

Russia has the government institutions, legal framework, technical expertise, human resources, and distinguished tradition of scientific excellence needed to support these developments. But there is an urgent need to strengthen Russia’s recently reduced capabilities in many areas. Fortunately, the economic situation in Russia is slowly improving, and the implementation of effective health and agricultural policies is much closer to being achieved than it was just two or three years ago. In particular

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