Zika virus

Dear Research Advocate: While Senate leadership had originally planned to pass a continuing resolution (CR) this week and leave town, negotiations are ongoing. Odds still are that a short-term CR providing $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funding will be signed into law before the 9/30/16 deadline. We’ll keep you posted. The 21st Century Cures Initiative (Cures) is on hold once again. Earlier today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-MI-06) staff reported progress on a compromise bill crafted to pass both houses of Congress this year, but said it will not be considered until after the elections. Cures advocacy may have a “rock of Sisyphus” feel to it, but there’s...
Dear Research Advocate: First, it is not too late to sign up for our webinar, The Microbiome Initiative: A Closer Look , which will take place tomorrow , September 16, from 1:00 to 1:30 ET. I am not surprised that interest is strong in this program, which features Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO of the American Society for Microbiology. Please join us! I was in New York following the birth of my grandson (Ferdinand, 8 pounds, 14 ounces!) and missed our National Health Research Forum last week; however, I watched the video and the panel discussions were absolutely terrific! From the need for a standing public health emergency fund that grounds threat response in pragmatism rather than politics, to...
Dear Research Advocate: News this week from researchers in Brazil on hearing loss in infants born to mothers who have been infected with the Zika virus underscores the reality that we are far from seeing light at the end of this public health crisis tunnel. CDC Director Tom Frieden and NIAID Director Tony Fauci wrote on the perils of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in funding the nation’s response to Zika in yesterday’s Washington Post . We are fortunate to be welcoming both of these leaders to our National Health Research Forum next week, so will have an in-the-moment update. Some 76% of Americans now say Congress should make passing the emergency Zika response an important priority when they...
Dear Research Advocate: Not surprisingly since it is the last week before an extended recess, Congress has been quite busy. There have been highs, lows and a lot that’s in between. Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), but without a dedicated funding stream to jump start progress. The House Appropriations Committee passed an FY17 Labor-H appropriations bill with a robust $1.25 billion increase for NIH and a pledge from Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) to make this number even higher. However, there was bitter partisan disagreement on restricting CDC gun violence prevention research and how to address the Zika crisis, leading to passage along party lines of a bill that...
Dear Research Advocate: The CDC has concluded that a causal relationship exists between the Zika virus and microcephaly. Earlier this week, Congress passed a law providing incentives for private sector development of Zika vaccines and treatments. But responding to threats like Zika is a resource-intensive, multi-pronged process. We are working with the March of Dimes and other partners to fight for emergency funding. Interested in joining this effort? Let me know! The Senate Appropriations Committee has parsed the overall FY17 discretionary budget into “302(b)” allocations for its various subcommittees. Given that the topline numbers are virtually flat, it is not particularly surprising...
Dear Research Advocate: As task force meetings for Vice President Biden’s “moonshot” initiative began this week, a new public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America showed that 50% of Americans favor a tax increase to fund cancer research. While this manner of funding the moonshot is not currently on the table, the survey finding underscores the high priority Americans place on curing cancer. The President told Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan that assuring resources for research, cancer in particular, is one of his five priorities for working across the aisle this year. His FY17 budget proposal -- scheduled for release next Tuesday -- will reportedly request additional...

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