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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Zika Response

Nature: Don’t redirect Ebola cash to Zika vaccines
Editorial Board

“…Taking money from much-needed research and health care to develop a vaccine against one disease itself costs lives. … When Congress returns to session on 6 September, the U.S. administration should insist on a permanent fund from which public health agencies can draw, similar to that made available for natural disasters. It should also dedicate more money to international surveillance, detection, and health care systems … and implement more stringent vector-control strategies to keep many viruses in check. … The Obama administration has rightly called for permanent emergency funds and money for overall infrastructure improvement. But its willingness to sacrifice necessary research and development programs to stick Band-Aids on the latest public health scare erodes its credibility. When a truly deadly and pervasive pathogen appears in the United States, will there be any Band-Aids left?” (8/30).

The Hill: Zika is a public health emergency; we need to work together to confront this head on
Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

“…Passing the Zika aid bill now is imperative; but more funding isn’t everything. … We must make sure that promising Zika medicines become a reality and that we continue to innovate so that we are ready for the next curve ball Mother Nature throws at us. … Congress should remove barriers to innovation at the National Institutes of Health to help make [the availability of a Zika vaccine by 2018] a reality. …[S]marter government can be an ally to the researchers, scientists, and innovators who are on the front lines every day, searching for cures. It would be a shame for the brokenness of Washington to make an already tragic situation with Zika worse. North Carolinians are counting on Congress to prove that we can tackle tough problems by working together, keep our children and families safe, and act responsibly with the finite resources we have…” (8/30).

The Hill: Zika is here — why is Congress not?
Jeffrey D. Klausner, professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

“…It is critical that this country’s decision makers, from Congress to counties, take the long view towards infectious diseases, an approach that is sustainable. … The United States must move from a reactive response to a proactive one. … There is almost certainly another infectious disease waiting to emerge, gradually developing and spreading while we focus our attention on the latest publicity-spawning threat. If the nation does not improve its overall response to infectious disease from the ground up, then this next threat will again catch us by surprise and wreak havoc before we effectively respond. When it does, one can only hope that Congress won’t be on vacation” (8/30).

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