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Research!America is dedicated to ensuring a strong public and private sector investment in research to improve health at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion. Member organizations and others share their perspectives on a wide variety of topics relating to public and private sector research and innovation, and public health. The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of Research!America.

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As we ring in the New Year, 2013 promises to be an exciting time to be involved in the fight to raise support and awareness for neglected tropical diseases. As the world becomes more interconnected and global warming changes disease patterns, NTDs are increasingly spreading across borders ’€“ including right here at home. For example, Slate recently published an article addressing the return of dengue in the United States . In the past few years, dengue has sickened hundreds in Florida and other southern states. Experts warn that the combination of the virus, a lack of immunity to dengue and widespread mosquitoes provide the perfect storm of conditions for larger dengue outbreaks in the U.S...
Dear Research Advocate, Since I wrote with a note of optimism last week, Speaker Boehner was unable to hold his caucus, and both houses of Congress summarily recessed. As of today they remain at a virtual standoff, with the House calling for passage of a bill to extend all tax cuts and the Senate calling for passage of a bill to let rates expire on families making more than $250,000 per year. The current 112th Congress and the White House are unlikely to come to terms on a deal this year. And now the rhetoric has changed to describing a fiscal cliff effect that isn’€™t irreparable (thus ’€œbungee jumping,’€ per a Bank of America economist), with the Administration using damage-delay...
Dear Research Advocate, Progress toward a deal to avert the fiscal cliff seems now to have been reversed, with talk today of reintroducing aspects of the Ryan budget ’€” more severe than sequestration. Holidays or not, this is no time to let up on our individual and collective advocacy for research. Reps. Fudge (D-OH) and Stivers (R-OH) are leading a bipartisan sign-on letter , urging Congress to take into account the critical importance of NIH in any deficit reduction plan. Take action and urge your representatives to sign on! For those of you in Ohio, if you would like to thank Reps. Fudge and Stivers for their efforts, you may obtain their contact information here . In addition to...
The U.N. has suspended vaccine work in Pakistan following the tragic killings of eight health workers during a three-day polio immunization campaign. Other health workers have been injured or threatened during efforts to deliver vaccines to children around the country. Polio is a highly infectious disease and can cause irreversible paralysis, but there is a vaccine that can prevent the disease. Coordinated efforts from organizations like the World Health Organization, Rotary International and the Gates Foundation have helped reduce the threat of polio through vaccine distribution and stronger surveillance systems. Thanks to these highly successful immunization campaigns, the total number of...
On December 13 and 14, the global health community gathered at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York for a conference called ’€œ Lives in the Balance: Delivering Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients and Populations .’€ Hosted by Mount Sinai Global Health, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) , the conference aimed to spur innovation for new tools to combat neglected diseases. Several key themes emerged from the conference. First, there is a ’€˜fatal imbalance’€™ between the burden of neglected disease and medical innovations to combat these illnesses. Neglected diseases affect more than 1.4 billion people worldwide and account for...
Dear Research Advocate, Are we heading over the fiscal cliff? You have probably seen the several public opinion polls saying most Americans now think it’€™s inevitable. (’€œMerry Cliftmas,’€ says Jon Stewart.) Our latest polling tracks with that of others ’€” and adds a timely insight. Just when one might least expect Americans to voluntarily increase what they owe to Uncle Sam, more than 50% say they would be willing to pay $1 more per week if they were sure the dollars would go to medical research. See this finding and more in a new poll we commissioned to take the pulse of Americans at this high-stakes time in our history. We have been asking about willingness to pay more in taxes for...
Poll Reveals Deep Concerns Among Americans about Impact of Spending Cuts to Medical Research Alexandria, Va. ’€”December 13, 2012’€”Nearly 60% of Americans are skeptical that Congress and the White House will reach an agreement that will avoid the fiscal cliff, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. More than 80% of Republicans, nearly 40% of Democrats and 65% of Independents say they are ’€œnot too confident’€ or ’€œnot at all confident’€ current negotiations will result in a deal. The findings reveal growing doubt among many Americans that Congress and the Administration will be able to make a deal that would avoid tax increases for most...
Dear Research Advocate, As our nation edges toward the fiscal cliff, the White House and House Republican leadership have been trading offers. The most recent Republican plan includes additional cuts to discretionary spending ’€” another $300 billion. These newly proposed discretionary cuts are significantly less than the across-the-board approach of sequestration, but suggest that ’€” absent a strong shift in the winds ’€” more discretionary spending cuts will be part of any final, compromise plan. It is highly unlikely that any final plan will be hammered out until next year; the president indicated as much in remarks he made Tuesday. The best guess is that policy makers will coalesce...
On December 3, Policy Cures released its fifth annual G-FINDER report , a comprehensive survey of funding for research and development for neglected diseases. The report tracks global public, private and philanthropic investments into R&D for 31 diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and NTDs. In positive news, this year’€™s report shows that total funding has actually increased by $443 million since 2007. The report demonstrates that government funding, which accounts for over two-thirds of all investment, is increasingly going toward basic academic research, rather than product development. Research!America believes it is vital that the entire research pipeline be fully...
Each year on World AIDS Day , December 1, the world unites in the fight against HIV. It is estimated that 34 million people around the world are living with HIV and over 25 million people have died from the disease since 1981. The good news is that strong investments in HIV/AIDS research have resulted in remarkable scientific advances such as new prevention tools and drugs that allow individuals to manage their disease. However, there is still much more work to be done and World AIDS Day highlights the need for continued investments in research, education and improved access to treatment. It is also important to raise awareness of another category of diseases that can undermine efforts to...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco