Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year.
And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.
Another expert - biodefense expert George Poste, who used to be a member of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense - said:
We are coming up on the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
We've been fortunately spared anything on that scale for the past 100 years, but it is inevitable that a pandemic strain of equal virulence will emerge.
News of the Global Health Security Agenda demise couldn't have come at a worse time as the threat of disease hasn't subsided in the past five years.
Last Monday, over 200 health organisations wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to express their concerns.
An extract from the letter reads:
Pulling out now from countries like Pakistan and Democratic Republic of the Congo — one of the world’s main hot spots for emerging infectious diseases — risks leaving the world unprepared for the next outbreak.
Now is not the time to step back.
The ongoing danger that biological threats pose to American health, economic, and national security interests demands dedicated and steady funding for global health security.
The authors of the letter are hoping that they will be able to convince President Trump and Congress to continue funding for the project.