Tags: Barack Obama | Ebola Outbreak | Ebola research | funding | politicians | cuts

Politicians Point Fingers Over Cut in Ebola Research

By    |   Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:26 AM

Politicians are pointing fingers at each other for cutting research into Ebola funding in the years leading up to the outbreak, opening the way for a partisan fight over who is to blame for the spread of the deadly disease.

According to The Washington Times, a number of Democrats who are on the campaign trail say that Republicans are to blame for cuts in the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over a period of years.

"House Republicans' priorities aren't just out-of-touch, they're dangerous," said Rep. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to the Times.

Israel, a New York Democrat, pointed to a vote in 2011 when the GOP took control of the House that made cuts to CDC funding.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said the budget sequesters, which had been agreed on by both parties, were responsible for reducing the amount of funds going to the CDC, the Times reported.

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Robert Casey said Monday there had been "chronic underfunding" of initiatives that would have prepared hospitals to cope with an Ebola epidemic and called for "drastic cuts" to be reversed.

But in an opinion piece for Politico Magazine, Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal insisted that the CDC had the funding it needed but that the Obama administration was to blame for using it primarily for fighting infectious diseases rather than preventive research measures.

Meanwhile, Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, said that without the budget cuts, his agency "probably would have had a vaccine" by now, the Times reported.

Since the outbreak, the government has expedited contracts with major pharmaceutical and research companies working on solutions to combat the virus.

Specifically, the NIH recently gave an additional $8 million to Crucell Holland for an existing $30 million contract. In early September, the White House approved a $20.4 million contract with Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the company which developed the experimental drug ZMapp, which was used to treat the two Americans who had contracted the disease in West Africa.

And in August, the agency had announced it was beginning human testing for an experimental vaccine, which has since been expedited, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that hospitals that have not been specifically trained to cope with the disease are likely to face a struggle to get up to speed. The hospitals that have already treated the victims in the United States report that it has come with significant costs.

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Politicians are pointing fingers at each other for cutting research into Ebola funding in the years leading up to the outbreak, opening the way for a partisan fight over who is to blame for the spread of the deadly disease.
Ebola research, funding, politicians, cuts
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2014-26-14
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:26 AM
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