Senators request $1B toward universal flu vaccine development

Senators are seeking approval from Congress to put $1 billion over five years toward developing a universal flu vaccine, according to The Washington Times.

"The flu is a formidable foe," said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. "This year, all signs are pointing to the most severe flu season since the 2009 pandemic."

The growing number of pediatric flu deaths across the country and preliminary vaccine findings for this year, which reported the current vaccine is only 36 percent effective, sparked the proposal.

Mr. Markey and the bill's cosponsors aim to give $200 million per year to the National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine that protects against all flu strains.

"It's just something that we don't accept in a country that has had so many medical developments," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Mr. Markey said a front-end investment in this treatment is worthwhile to cut U.S. spending on the flu, which costs about $10.4 billion in direct medical costs on average each year and $87 billion to the overall economy.

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