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New science panel formed to deal with infectious diseases

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and the National Academy of Sciences have established a committee of experts on infectious diseases to build on Trump administration efforts to confront the new coronavirus threat. One goal is to discourage misinformation and panic.

Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said Friday the committee will examine emerging infectious diseases and provide insight to policy makers.

“We are creating a direct line to the nation’s top scientific minds on public health,” Droegemeier said.

Dr. Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, said the virus is the sort of international health threat that creates a climate ripe for misinformation and panic. She said the National Academies “stand ready to provide evidence-based advice to protect US citizens in a timely and expedited manner.”

The Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats will be tasked with responding on short notice to questions related to emerging infectious diseases.

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