Last week, Senator Markey called on Trump to reestablish, appoint a permanent global health chief to address coronavirus threat


Washington (February 3, 2020) – With the cases of identified coronavirus at 11 in the United States and the World Health Organization warning of a potential global pandemic with the continuing spread of the virus, today Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) queried the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) about its efforts to design and produce a universal coronavirus vaccine. In a statement last week Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID administrator, reportedly said of the current outbreak that a universal coronavirus vaccine is possible and worth considering. The death toll from the coronavirus in China has passed 360, with more than 17,000 infections confirmed worldwide.


“With three novel coronavirus outbreaks in roughly 18 years, and considering the significant impact of this novel coronavirus, finding a vaccine that treats all coronaviruses would be a significant development for global public health,” writes Senator Markey in his letter.


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.


Last week, Senator Markey called on President Donald Trump to re-establish and immediately appoint a permanent global health chief to address the growing threat of the coronavirus. President Barack Obama first established the position to coordinate a response to the Ebola threat. Senator Markey also has previously called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the State Department to outline their efforts to response to this threat, specifically asking how HHS is using the expertise and resources developed from its response to the Ebola virus and previous outbreaks.


This request builds on Senator Markey’s leadership in developing a universal flu vaccine. He previously introduced the Flu Vaccine Act, legislation to conduct or support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine that could protect against multiple strains of the flu virus and offer longer lasting protection. Senator Markey and his colleagues were able to secure full funding for fiscal year 2020, $200 million for universal flu vaccine research at the NIAID within NIH.