This COVID Research Act requires the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to undertake specified actions related to forecasting emerging infectious diseases.
The OSTP, acting through the National Science and Technology Council, must establish an interagency working group to coordinate federal activities concerning infectious disease prediction and forecasting. Among other tasks, the working group must identify challenges in predicting outbreaks and develop a strategic plan to address them.
The bill also provides statutory authority for the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee must provide expertise to the working group and otherwise facilitate science and policy discussions concerning emerging infectious diseases. The committee must issue public reports and brief Congress on its activities.
In coordination with specified entities, DOE shall carry out, and report to Congress on, a competitive research program for the National Laboratories and others to leverage analytical tools and computational and networking capabilities to prevent and respond to emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019). DOE must also establish the Emerging Infectious Diseases High Performance Computing Research Consortium to support the research program.