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Robust Funding, Action Needed To Develop Universal Flu Vaccine

U.S. News & World Report: Tame the Flu
Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA

“…We have gone without a universal flu vaccine, one effective against all of the many forms of flu viruses, for too long. Right now, there is progress being made in the effort to create it, and this may be the year — and the flu strain — that finally moves government to accelerate progress with the necessary funding. It has taken some time to answer the call of renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, issued in 2007, for a billion-dollar-per-year U.S. commitment to develop a universal flu vaccine. Osterholm is still working to address this public health danger, and he received some vindication recently when Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., proposed a bill to greatly increase funding for a universal flu vaccine. That legislation aims to provide $1 billion to the National Institutes of Health in order to support development of a universal flu vaccine, building on current promising efforts. Funding would begin next year. … In addition, there are a number of private-sector-funded efforts to identify effective therapies for those exposed to flu and those who are sick with it. Several of these promising antiviral compounds are in clinical trials now… ” (2/20).

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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.