• Doug Neckers

Kaptur Introduces Resolution Calling for the Establishment of National Institute of Viral Diseases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 3, 2021 Media Contact: Griffin Anderson, (202) 225-4146

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced a House Resolution calling for the establishment of new unit of the National Institutes of Health to be known as The National Institute of Viral Diseases, to increase research in the field of viral disease causes, prevention, and treatment. “I am introducing this resolution to build upon our federal government’s investment in scientific research and to consider expanding the scope of NIH’s excellent work,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Through my Appropriations Committee work across various subcommittees, I have become increasingly concerned that federal funding in the field of biomedical sciences in particular has lagged behind the clinical work of NIH and the physical sciences of NSF. Research methodology requires a unique approach, and as our nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, there is a need for more investment in biomedical research related to viral diseases.” “Molecular biologists warned the world, for years, to be on guard against viruses,” said Dr. Douglas C. Neckers, distinguished research professor (emeritus) of photochemical sciences at Bowling Green State University and academic advisor on the drafting of this resolution. “Yet America was not prepared for COVID-19. Lack of preparation cost far too many lives worldwide and cannot be repeated. The National Institute of Viral Diseases has one objective: to focus research and development programs on viruses and viral diseases so the nation and the world can anticipate, and be prepared for, the lethal viruses of the future.” Key points:

The House Resolution calls for the establishment of a new unit of the National Institutes of Health, to be known as The National Institute of Viral Diseases, to increase research in the field of viral disease causes, prevention, and treatment.

  • The toll in illness, death, and direct economic damage caused by COVID–19 justifies a fundamental reorganization and significant expansion of the commitment of the Federal Government to fund research on diseases caused by viruses and their prevention and treatment.

  • Not only do viruses pose serious health and economic threats to humans but they also effect domestic pets, farm animals, and food crops.

  • Scientists predict that the toll from viral diseases will increase in the future, with new disease-causing viruses spreading from animals to people due to human intrusion into previously wild environments, increased international travel, and mass migrations resulting from war, famine, and national disasters.

  • Despite the scope and seriousness of this problem, there is no treatment or cure for most viral infections in humans and existing treatments can only relieve symptoms while victims wait and hope that their immune system will fight off the virus.

  • Vaccines can protect people from some viral diseases, but no vaccine exists for the most common viral infections, including the common cold, and vaccines for influenza provide only temporary protection and must be renewed annually.

  • Currently, virus-related funding in the federal government is fragmented, uncoordinated, and not uniquely focused as it is allocated among multiple Federal agencies, including the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Congress must recognize the importance of biological sciences research and its contributions to advancing medical countermeasures for the betterment of the American public.

  • Recognizes the need for amendment of the Public Health Service Act to lift the current statutory cap on NIH’s 27 Institutes.

Text of the Resolution can be found here.


### kaptur.house.gov

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With Dr. Doug Neckers

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