Trump ended program to detect potential pandemic-causing viruses before they spread: report

The Trump administration cut a $200 million program that trains scientists in China and other foreign countries to detect viruses that could become pandemics two months before the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan, China, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The program was launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2009 and reportedly supported staff in the Chinese lab that eventually identified the new coronavirus. The initiative, dubbed PREDICT, was launched in response to the 2005 H1N1 ”bird flu.”

Dennis Carroll, a scientist who led USAID’s emerging threats division and retired around the time PREDICT was cut, told the New York Times in January that  the program “essentially collapsed into hibernation.”

Lawmakers have pointed out that the program was cut right at the cusp of the coronavirus pandemic.