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Congressional Cuts To Global Health R&D Spending Would Hinder Preparations For New Pandemic Threats

The movie “‘Contagion’ is fiction, but truth closely trails behind. It tells an effective story of why we need new vaccines, tests, drugs, and other tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases to address existing and emerging global health threats,” Kaitlin Christenson, coalition director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), writes in an opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” She notes the world has “been dealing with multiple new threats” over the past few years, adding, “We will surely face new pandemic threats, and we already face other emerging ones such as dengue fever and drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).” 

“Congress is now considering funding for the U.S. portfolio on global health, including research and development (R&D). Signs are that global health R&D funding will be reduced. Now is not the time to cut back,” Christenson writes. With many innovations, including drugs, vaccines, tests, and other health products under various stages of development, “about to enter more expensive end-stage clinical trials …  [w]e need to reach the finish line with” the stakeholders involved in making these innovations a reality, she writes, concluding, “Increased U.S. investment in global health research will help us get there, and help us prepare against potentially devastating outbreaks” (9/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.