Ready or Not: Regaining Military Readiness during COVID19

By Diane DiEuliis and Laura Junor Strategic Insights

PRINT  |  E-MAIL

CSWMD
Virus Outbreak Germany
A scientist presents an antibody test for coronavirus in a laboratory of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) at the InfectoGnostics research campus in Jena, Germany, Friday, April 3, 2020. An international team of researchers with the participation of the Jena Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) has developed a rapid antibody test for the new coronavirus. By means of a blood sample, the test shows within ten minutes whether a person is acutely infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (IgM antibody) or already immune to it (IgG antibody). The strip test is manufactured by the diagnostics company Senova in Weimar and is already on the market. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Photo By: Jens Meyer
VIRIN: 200413-D-BD104-002

As the novel coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak upends virtually every aspect of American life, we are constantly reminded of the devastation wrought by the 1918 Influenza pandemic. It also offers a sobering reminder of how quickly a virus can hobble a military force without effective countermeasures. During WWI, influenza and pneumonia sickened between 20 to 40 percent of U.S. Army and Navy service members in a matter of months. However, it is not 1918; modern biotechnology is already making dramatic gains in testing, therapeutics, and immunization in ways unimaginable in 1918, or even a few decades ago. Here we describe just one biotechnology solution – a test that could determine who has been exposed but not sickened - that could mitigate the impact to the U.S. military’s readiness. While America’s response to date has been very much steered by the virus itself, this tool could give us leverage and control to better manage the military’s readiness and protect our ability to deliver the defense mission. READ MORE>>>