Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation to conduct or support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal coronavirus vaccine. Senator Markey’s legislation calls for a total investment of $1 billion – $250 million for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2023 for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. There are now at least 65 countries reporting infections, including 88 confirmed cases in the United States.
“This is not the first coronavirus threat in the United States, and it will not be the last,” said Senator Markey. “With three novel coronavirus outbreaks in the last 18 years, finding a vaccine that treats all coronaviruses would be a milestone for global health and safety. We have the best scientists and researchers on the planet, and the United States should lead the world in containing this crisis and preventing future ones. By providing dedicated, consistent resources, we can perform the basic scientific research necessary to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine that prevents the next novel biothreat. That goal is within our grasp.”
A copy of the legislation can be found here.
On February 3, Senators Markey queried the NIAID about its efforts to design and produce a universal coronavirus vaccine. NIAID administrator Dr. Anthony Fauci previously said of the current outbreak that a universal coronavirus vaccine is possible and worth considering.
And in December 2019, Senator Markey secured $200 million in funding in the year-end spending package for research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine that could protect against multiple strains of the flu virus and offer longer lasting protection.