Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institute of Health, told Huffington Post’s Sam Stein that an ebola vaccine might already exist were it not for a decade-long slowdown in medical research funding.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001,” Collins said. “It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here.’ Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
Stein cites statistics showing the NIH’s budget has barely grown in the past decade, with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ budget even contracting a bit.
Per Collins, the uncertainty of funding impacts the pace of the research, and thus ebola vaccines “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory. …We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference.”
Collins’ claim brought quick rebukes from conservatives who argued that the NIH and CDC wasted money on frivolous research projects.
[h/t Huffington Post]
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