WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Angus King Jr. (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in asking the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to provide an update on research initiatives to develop a universal flu vaccine. Last year, NIAID released its strategic plan to achieve a universal flu vaccine, which would meet the following criteria: (1) be at least 75 percent effective, (2) protect against multiple strains of the flu, (3) provide protection for at least one year, and (4) be appropriate for all age groups. He was able to secure $100 million for fiscal year 2018 and $140 for fiscal year 2019.
“The sooner we can achieve a universal vaccine, the sooner we can reduce the relentless burden the flu places on American families each year,” write the Senators in their letter to NIAID. “Congress is committed to helping NIAID actualize that plan and achieve our mutual goal of putting a universal flu vaccine on the market as soon as possible.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In the letter, the Senators ask NIAID to respond to questions that include:
· Please describe how NIAID has used, and intends to use, the dedicated funding provided by Congress in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to help develop a universal flu vaccine.
· What are the tangible goals NIAID and your partners in this endeavor hope to achieve this year to demonstrate progress in developing a universal flu vaccine?
· Does NIAID intend to modify its strategic plan based on research progress made in the last year or anticipated progress in 2019?
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