US legislators reintroduce bill to further universal flu vaccine development

Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Print  | 

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., reintroduced the Flu Vaccine Act.

The legislation will make an investment in comprehensive research for universal influenza vaccine, which could protect against several strains of the flu. The legislation calls for an investment of $1 billion through 2024 for the National Institutes of Health. Each year, from 2020 to 2024, the NIH would receive $200 million.

For fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the government secured 100 million and $140 million respectively for research on the universal flu vaccine at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Sen. Markey first introduced the Flu Vaccine Act in 2018. Then, the legislation called for an investment of $1 billion from 2019 through 2023 for the NIH.

"With increased research funding, hard-working health care providers, and brilliant scientific investigators, we are the closest we have ever been to ensuring a flu-free future," said Sen. Markey in a statement. "The bases are loaded, and the Flu Vaccine Act will help us knock this public health menace out of the park."

The CDC estimates that from Oct. 1, 2018 to Feb. 23, there have been 20.4 million to 23.6 million flu illnesses in the U.S., and 16,400 to 26,700 deaths from the flu.

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