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Center for Biosecurity Meets with Chinese Leaders in Public Health and Science

Trip Report by Tom Inglesby and Anita Cicero

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China, like the U.S., has had to cope with a range of disease outbreaks in recent years and continues to prepare for future emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats. Over the past few years, the Center for Biosecurity has benefited greatly from policy discussions with government officials and nongovernment leaders in other countries, including Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, and France. We were eager to be able to connect with Chinese experts and learn from them about disease detection and control, as well as healthcare preparedness and community resilience in the world’s most populous country.

On July 10-18, 2011, we traveled to Beijing with the goal of forging new relationships and participating in a series of informative exchanges with Chinese public health officials and infectious disease scientists who have responsibilities related to the following:

  • Planning and response to infectious disease epidemics (eg, pandemic flu, H5N1, future pandemics, and lessons from SARS and H1N1)

  • Disease surveillance for early warning of outbreaks

  • Disease control and containment efforts

  • Development of vaccines and medicines for emerging infectious diseases

  • Hospital preparedness for public health emergencies

  • Biosafety and biosecurity

In our various meetings, we shared the Center’s independent analysis of U.S. government and private sector approaches to these issues, and our hosts described China’s efforts in these areas. The trip exceeded our high expectations for a valuable exchange of information on these and other topics.

From the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Melinda Frost, Health Communications Officer in the CDC Section, and Elizabeth Yuan, HHS Health Attaché, provided a useful orientation for us and helped to identify important Chinese leaders and institutions in this field. To a person, both our Chinese hosts and U.S. Embassy contacts were gracious and generous with their time.