Thurs 3/5: COVID-19 is not our first coronavirus rodeo.

Graphic from “Are coronavirus diseases equally deadly?” (NBCnew.com)

Today’s action contains:

  • Related coronavirus-related political actions, click here.
  • New Action – Government funding of vaccines.
  • County and state updates on coronavirus spread and prevention information.
  • Weirdly fascinating video on hand washing. We’re not doing it right.

Action #1 – GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE RUN LIKE A BUSINESS. Support legislation to fund government research to fight this disease.

In the last two decades, a series of “animal” viruses, including SARS and MERS, have triggered intermittent outbreaks around the world. Now there’s COVID-19, with 65 countries reporting infections and 88 confirmed cases in the US. But in the time gaps between epidemics, public attention wanes and scientists struggle to get funding. In 2016, researchers in Texas were ready to test a vaccine against SARS, “severe acute respiratory syndrome”, which is structurally similar to our current disease. However, they couldn’t get grants or investors for the testing process. Dr. Peter Hotez, head of that abandoned project, told Congress on Thursday that the new coronavirus should trigger changes in the way the government funds vaccine development. “It’s tragic that we won’t have a vaccine ready for this epidemic. Practically speaking, we’ll be fighting these outbreaks with one hand tied behind our backs.”

Not only does it need to be ready, but affordable or free to truly saturate a population. However, our drug company executive and pharmaceutical lobbyist HHS Secretary Alex Azar just defended private industry’s right to profit handsomely from a pandemic, and could not assure Congress that people would be able to afford their resulting vaccines.

Therefore, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to conduct and support comprehensive research to create a universal coronavirus vaccine, something that NIAID administrator, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has stated is possible and worth considering. His bill 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). Continue reading “Thurs 3/5: COVID-19 is not our first coronavirus rodeo.”