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senate Bill S. 2438

Should the Feds Spend $1 Billion Researching a Universal Flu Vaccine?

Argument in favor

The U.S. needs to lead the way in researching a better flu vaccine, and this bill would provide the funding needed to develop a vaccine that could be administered once or twice while offering a lifetime of protection.

Lisa's Opinion
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02/23/2018
A universal flu vaccine is just as important now as polio vaccine was in the past. The flu is deadly. Let’s find a way to eliminate it.
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Jerrey's Opinion
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02/23/2018
This would be a very worthwhile effort that would not only benefit the US but the world. This is a much better allocation of resources than the idiotic wall!
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Christina's Opinion
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02/23/2018
A vaccine like this would save a lot of lives in the US alone and have an immeasurable benefit to humanity as a whole. As the wealthiest country in the world, the US should absolutely be leading in medical research to combat deadly viruses and debilitating diseases.
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Argument opposed

There is a lot more research that needs to be done before a universal flu vaccine is available and $1 billion may not be enough. Alternatively, the government should allow the private sector to lead the vaccine development.

Cole's Opinion
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02/23/2018
That’s not how the flu works. There is no “one” flu and you can’t vaccinate against just that. Even the famous ones like H1N1 or H3N2 are numerous different strains from one year to the next. It’s the same reason there’s no vaccine for the common cold. You may as well just burn the money.
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greggors's Opinion
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02/23/2018
Although public funding for vaccines is important, the flu is a multi-strain virus that is unlikely to have a "universal" vaccine.
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Owen's Opinion
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02/23/2018
That is not how the flu works. I am all for more healthcare spending, but I am also against propositions not based in science. I know that the idea of a cure all is nice and comforting. But rather than pursuing the impossible, let’s raise medical knowledge among the populace through ad campaigns, and invest more in our healthcare.
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What is Senate Bill S. 2438?

This bill — the Flu Vaccine Act — would authorize $1 billion in funding for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine over the next five years. The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases would use the funding to conduct or support comprehensive research leading to the vaccine’s creation. A total of $200 million in funding would be authorized for each of fiscal years 2019-2023, up from the $64 million spent in fiscal year 2017 on such research.

Impact

People who would receive the universal flu vaccine; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and researchers.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2438

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced this bill to support $1 billion in research toward a universal influenza vaccine that could be administered once or twice and provide a lifetime of protection:

“America’s scientists and clinicians are gold medalists in health and disease research, and it is up to the United States to lead the world in the response to the flu. We must enhance our ability to predict the right strain for the next season, produce a more optimal vaccine, and protect all Americans against all strains of this virus. The Flu Vaccine Act will help provide dedicated, consistent resources so that we can perform the basic science research necessary to improve upon our current vaccine and ultimately develop a universal one.”

Markey’s press release stated that as of February 15, there had already been 63 pediatric deaths and high levels of hospitalizations related to the flu this season. It added that the flu costs the nation an estimated $10.4 billion in medical costs annually and $87 billion in total economic burden.

This legislation has the support seven cosponsors in the Senate, all of whom caucus as Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: scyther5 / iStock
)

AKA

Flu Vaccine Act

Official Title

A bill to conduct or support further comprehensive research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedFebruary 15th, 2018
    Better than building a stupid wall.
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    That’s not how the flu works. There is no “one” flu and you can’t vaccinate against just that. Even the famous ones like H1N1 or H3N2 are numerous different strains from one year to the next. It’s the same reason there’s no vaccine for the common cold. You may as well just burn the money.
    Like (197)
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    There is no such thing as a universal flu vaccine. The flu virus mutates both regionally and seasonally. More misinformation and propaganda. 🌎 If they are referring to a "universal vaccine" which would protect against the "most common strains." The UK already has had one that is currently undergoing clinical trials since January 18th. Again, more misinformation and payouts. 💵 My guess is they want to take credit for the work being done in the UK.
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    Although public funding for vaccines is important, the flu is a multi-strain virus that is unlikely to have a "universal" vaccine.
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    That is not how the flu works. I am all for more healthcare spending, but I am also against propositions not based in science. I know that the idea of a cure all is nice and comforting. But rather than pursuing the impossible, let’s raise medical knowledge among the populace through ad campaigns, and invest more in our healthcare.
    Like (39)
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    Regretfully, I have to disagree with this proposed budget allocation, not because I do not have faith in the scientific community's ability to develop a universal flu vaccine, but because we have more pressing global health issues. Flu pandemics (the worldwide spread of disease) took the lives of millions in the early to late-mid 1900s (Spanish Flu, Avian Flu); however, we now have only had recent outbreaks and the flu claims an estimated ~650,000 lives each year. Compare this to chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke which took nearly 57 million lives in 2015, not to mention the families stricken by cancer, other infectious diseases, and even automobile/road injuries (which lead to more disability and death than the flu, worldwide), I have to err on the side of not supporting this bill.
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    They should spend the money and time for research and treatment of the opioid and drug addiction that has plagued this country for years. This is a true threat to our country and our children. Time to fight the war with a commitment of dollars and sense and save thousands of lives that will make America Great Again !!!
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    A universal flu vaccine is just as important now as polio vaccine was in the past. The flu is deadly. Let’s find a way to eliminate it.
    Like (13)
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    There is no one strain of the flu for a universal flu vaccine. I’d rather $1 billion is spent on combating the opioid crisis or researching cures for cancer.
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    A universal flu vaccine isn’t a thing because viruses mutate. Did Edward Markey ask any scientists before proposing this uninformed legislation?
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    They could do that or flush a billion down the toilet. Same outcome. Private sector.
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    Here's a novel idea - instead of spending $1 Billion on a "universal vaccine" that is highly unlikely, we put the $1 Billion towards making sure that people who get the flu have access to affordable healthcare to be treated. Oh, and throw in the money from the ridiculous, useless wall, too.
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    This would be a very worthwhile effort that would not only benefit the US but the world. This is a much better allocation of resources than the idiotic wall!
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    How about just properly funding the CDC. It’s their job already. There’s no universal vaccine for flu for the same reason there’s not one for the cold. It’s a multi-strain and fast mutating virus. That’s why they make a new one every year. You cannot break the laws of science just by spending money. Start by understanding science, then fund our already existing scientific institutions.
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    <sigh> basic science... This isn't how influenza works.
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    I am a resident Emergency Physician, this year I have seen the flu put a strain on our hospital and our ED, so much so we were seeing people in tents. I have seen the flu send both the elderly and the young to the ICU. I absolutely believe everyone should be vaccinated for their own protection and the protection of societies most vulnerable. However the flu is a virus that mutates every year, and despite our best efforts, we cannot predict how it will mutate. Perhaps some research will allow scientists to find a universal epitope on the virus, but this has always been the goal, and at this stage I fear that this is a proposal that is not based on current scientific fact. I would love to be proven wrong.
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    Flu vaccines are the least effective of vaccines because the Flu virus constantly mutates the second the vaccine is developed it is outdated
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    A vaccine like this would save a lot of lives in the US alone and have an immeasurable benefit to humanity as a whole. As the wealthiest country in the world, the US should absolutely be leading in medical research to combat deadly viruses and debilitating diseases.
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    Spending this money will help save more lives and more money in the future. Not to mention if we find a cure for the flu we could find the cure for something else
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    This had to be proposed by a republican. Their stupidity is written all over it.
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