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Hickenlooper, Burr Introduce Bill to Prevent Tomorrow’s Pandemics by Targeting Today’s Dangerous Viruses

Jan 12, 2022

Bipartisan bill would enhance development of early-stage medical interventions targeting dangerous, pandemic-causing pathogens

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Richard Burr introduced the Early Countermeasure Discovery Act, bipartisan legislation to improve the research and development of preventative medical countermeasures for pathogens with pandemic potential before they actually cause one.

“COVID-19 won’t be the last pandemic, but we can’t be caught off-guard again,” said Hickenlooper. “Pandemic preparedness is possible, affordable, and irresponsible to ignore.”

“Two years into this pandemic, it’s clear that early stage discovery of effective countermeasures to combat diseases that may cause a pandemic are critical to our nation’s safety,” said Burr. “This is the time to prepare for the next potential threat. This legislation will help strengthen our medical countermeasure enterprise by improving our partnerships with the academic institutions researching and developing innovative products that target these threats. I’m proud to work with Senator Hickenlooper on this important initiative, as Senator Murray and I continue our work to craft effective, bipartisan solutions to address the gaps in our public health architecture.”

The Early Countermeasure Discovery Act will direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish and support research programs with academic institutions to advance the discovery and preclinical development of medical tools that target certain virus families and other dangerous pathogens of concern.

This legislation would also improve the medical countermeasure research coordination between the NIH and relevant federal agencies, including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, on which Hickenlooper serves, is currently writing a bipartisan pandemic preparedness bill to better prepare for future pandemics. The Early Countermeasure Discovery Act will be included in that legislation.


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