Montgomery County approves funding to develop plan for new global pandemic prevention center

Montgomery County has approved funding to develop a business plan for a new global pandemic prevention and biodefense center.

On Tuesday, the County Council approved a $500,000 appropriation to support the $2.5 million strategy phase of the plan. An exploration team will now work to identify and finalize a site location.

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The plan is a joint effort initiated by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Hans Riemer.

According to a press release from Montgomery County, the center would establish the County as the global epicenter for pandemic prevention and would accelerate economic development for pandemic prevention solutions.

"Before COVID-19, we were warned about the need to aggressively prepare for future pandemics, and as a nation, we did not heed that advice. We missed it on COVID-19 - we can’t afford to miss it again," said County Executive Elrich in a statement.

The center would identify and launch strategic projects needed to advance pandemic avoidance and preparedness, while providing the necessary collaboration and coordination for updated public health policy, research and discovery, applied technology, trials, manufacturing and distribution for strategic solutions, officials say.