IDSA Urges Congress Not to Shortchange Infectious Disease Programs


:IDSA Urges Congress Not to Shortchange Infectious Disease Programs

@bodyWASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) today urged Congress to fund federal infectious diseases programs at levels that are sufficient to protect the public from emerging infectious diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), superbugs that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs, threats from bioterrorism and HIV/AIDS.

"Although President Bush's global AIDS initiative and his continued support for bioterrorism research funding are noteworthy and laudable budget proposals, the administration's budget plan falls short in other key areas-particularly by reducing funding for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," said IDSA president W. Michael Scheld, MD, who testified today before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

The IDSA also is concerned about a recent announcement to require the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to use research dollars to purchase a next-generation anthrax vaccine, Scheld added.

"With public health officials at CDC, NIAID and elsewhere engaged in heroic efforts to protect the public from SARS, now is not the time to shortchange our nation's commitment to fighting infectious diseases," Scheld said. "Without immediate, substantial investments, the country will be unprepared to meet future infectious diseases challenges."

Although IDSA does not oppose federal purchase of an anthrax vaccine, the Society is concerned that if NIAID funding is used for anthrax vaccine procurement, that purchase will come at the expense of critical research grants in HIV and other infectious diseases. "We urge Congress and the administration to secure funds for the anthrax vaccine from other resources and to let NIAID do what it does best-advance scientific knowledge through research," said Scheld.

IDSA made specific funding recommendations for CDC, the National Institutes of Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Scheld noted the Society's unequivocal support for an infusion of new monies into vital ID programs and urged Congress not to shift funding from one program to another.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), based in Alexandria, Va., is a professional society representing 7,000 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases. Housed within IDSA is the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), which represents 2,500 physicians working on the front line of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

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