Senator introduced legislation earlier this month to invest $1 billion in federal research to develop a universal flu vaccine
Washington (February 28, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today after the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) released its strategic plan to develop a universal flu vaccine. Specifically, NIAID believes that a universal flu vaccine should be able to: be at least 75 percent effective, protect against multiple strains of the flu, provide protection for at least one year, and be appropriate for all age groups.
“Given the severity of this year’s flu season and the comprehensive, compounding social and economic toll the flu takes on our country, it is unacceptable that in 2018, we do not have a more effective response to this public health menace,” said Senator Markey. “I applaud the NIAID and Dr. Tony Fauci for their commitment to ending this centuries-old scourge with a 21st century plan. While I believe our ultimate goal should be creating a flu vaccine that could be administered once or twice and provide a lifetime of protection, NIAID’s strategic plan represents an actionable and achievable proposal to mitigate the dangerous effects of the flu. I look forward to working to secure the resources the NIAID needs so that one day, the flu will be relegated to the history books.”
Earlier this month, Senator Markey introduced The Flu Vaccine Act, legislation to conduct or support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine. The legislation is calling for a total investment of $1 billion – $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023 for the National Institutes of Health. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spent an estimated $64 million for universal flu vaccine research in fiscal year 2017. The flu costs the nation $10.4 billion in direct medical costs annually and $87 billion in total economic burden, yet our current investment is significantly lacking. The current flu vaccine is only 36 percent effective this year, and typically ranges between 10 and 60 percent in effectiveness.