Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, has a $29 billion per year budget, which dwarfs the National Science Foundation and NASA - combined.
You'd think for all that money they could have done a lot to create an Ebola vaccine before the crisis was all over the pages of The New York Times. But it seems they need just a little more. Dr. Collins says they have been working on a vaccine since 2001 but haven't been able to complete it because of a "10-year slide" in funding.
"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" Collins told The Huffington Post last week. "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."
Yes, the NIH wishes George W. Bush were President again.
They are not wrong for wanting that, between the end of the Clinton Presidency and the end of the first Bush term, the budget for the NIH nearly doubled. In both cases it was a Republican Congress passing that budget, just like it is today, so it seems strange that people are blaming a Republican Congress for lack of an Ebola vaccine now. Adjusted for inflation, the NIH actually does get less funding than when Bush was president, but Clinton had a Republican-controlled House, as did Bush, as does Obama. President Obama had not only a Democratic Congress, he had a bulletproof majority, why didn't they double the budget for the NIH the way Bush did?
Oh wait, a mid-term election is a few weeks away. Now it all makes sense. 'Republicans hate science', etc. If only the facts showed that. But the facts show that between that date in 2001 and the beginning of the"10-year slide" in 2004, Republicans handed the NIH an additional $18 billion in taxpayer money. It sure doesn't cost $18 billion for a clinical trial.
The 'Democrats are more scientific' meme is still promoted at election time but no one really believes it any more - it is not like all those anti-vaccine and anti-GMO people vote Republican, they are instead in the most liberal hotbeds, where voter registration is 80% Democratic and Republicans keep their heads down.
On Genetic Literacy Project, I detail what is really wrong - and it is the NIH itself. What is most strange is that in January Collins admitted the NIH was not doing very well with its funding, now in October he believes the NIH would have given us an Ebola vaccine with just a little more.
Well, the NIH had other priorities in that time, like giving Johns Hopkins nearly $8 billion to do...something not related to an Ebola vaccine.
Instead, Zmapp was funded by the Department of Defense. Yes, the Department of Defense cared more about Ebola than the NIH all this time. And they are funding two vaccines also.
Some people claim anti-GMO and anti-vaccine beliefs are "bipartisan" - if so, I am sure all those Democrats are clamoring for a higher defense budget also. If we want to get new vaccines, that is.
If not for the NIH, we might have an Ebola vaccine - Genetic Literacy Project
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