Successful Phase 1 trials of Ebola Vaccine
My reaction was “tell me something I don’t know already” when I read that phase 1 trials of an Ebola vaccine at the National Institutes of Health have shown that it is safe.
My dad works on the NIH campus and he told me about the trial weeks ago. The results were recently published. Trials aiming to determine if the vaccine is effective are tentatively scheduled to start in January (this means it will be given to health care workers in Liberia).
I bring this up not only because it is wonderful and important news, but to grind an old ax.
In October Francis Collins (director of the NIH) said they would have had a proven vaccine by then if it weren’t for budget cuts. The vaccine had been synthesized but not tested. The fact that there are very promising published results a month and a half after he made the claim, makes his claim extremely convincing. The progress since then involves no Eureka moment. It is based on finding a few million dollars by cutting spending on research on diseases which were more common than Ebola long long ago in July.
Something to tell your Fox News watching uncle who says the US Federal Government never does anything useful and is a waste of money. Also an NIH budget which might have a claim to compete with tax subsidies for owners of race horses (I wish I were joking)
“Also an NIH budget which might have a claim to compete with tax subsidies for owners of race horses – See more at: http://angrybearblog.strategydemo.com/2014/11/successful-phase-1-trials-of-ebola-vaccine.html#more-28653”
Satire is dead. It just can’t compete with reality any more.
“Something to tell your Fox News watching uncle who says the US Federal Government never does anything useful and is a waste of money.”
I don’t think you would have much of an impact.
He gets a daily dose of that propaganda every day. It is packaged in a way to tap into some widely held personal beliefs and to imply a non sequitur or two. Thus it creeps across our uncle’s ‘bulls..t filter and sets him up for a full blown lie later. Like water drops hitting a stone, it wears away any resistance.
At least that is my feeble attempt to explain how a mentally competent adults falls for malarkey.
Of course the real problem is that our uncle is just not a critical listener.
Most people in the private sector, when facing budget cuts, rank-order things from most important to least important. The government sector turns this on its head and claims that if budgets are cut the most important components of their budget are the first thing to go – it’s a political form of extortion; to wit: “According to the White House, under sequestration the [NIH] “would be forced to delay or halt vital scientific projects and make hundreds of fewer research awards…[and] several thousand personnel could lose their jobs.”.
I’m no scientific expert, but I think we’d be okay if the sequestration cuts eliminated studying drunken monkeys, the connections between cocaine and risky sex habits of quail, disproportionate representation of obesity among lesbians, origami condoms, how golfers perform when using their imagination, or video game development to help faculty identify stereo-typed biases.
And then there’s this: “Generally, Congress gave the NIH about what the president requested — sometimes more, sometimes less. In 2013, for instance, Congress gave the NIH more than what the White House had requested, but then $1.5 billion was taken away by sequestration. . .
“For fiscal year 2015, the documents show, it was the Obama White House that proposed to cut the NIH’s budget from the previous year. Moreover, we should note that President George W. Bush, a Republican, is responsible for significantly boosting NIH’s funding in the early years of his presidency.”
Most people in the private sector, when facing budget cuts, rank-order things from most important to least important. Hmmmm, no. Private sector when it wants 5 or 10% cut, it cuts 5 or 10% from your budget (period). There was no ranking and they just took from the departments I ran. It typically resulted in layoffs, cuts in raises or bonuses, travel, overtime, etc. At times it also resulted in salary and wage cuts. You give the private sector way to much credit.
As far as NIH funding?
I wrote about this here: http://angrybearblog.strategydemo.com/2014/10/how-does-the-worlds-leading-economy-and-the-rest-of-the-world-prepare-for-disease-outbreaks-epidemics-and-pandemics.html
Someone else has noted your inability to stay on topic.
the internet wisely deleted a long angry reply to your comment. Trying to be polite
I note that the word “Republican” does not appear in my post. The fact check may be interesting (Kessler usually is) but it is off topic. The tax break for racehorse owners is in a bipartisan proposed tax reform. Why did you think the post was about Republicans ?
1. your claim about what government does is not supported by evidence. I am sure that strategic cutting of top priority spending occurs, in face I can think of examples (google Joseph Yeldell), but you present no evidence that it is common. I’d also guess it occurs in large private sector firms.
85-90% of the NIH budget is spent on investigator initiated peer reviewed grants. Decisions about priorities are made by outside experts many of them not government employees (the ones who told me about their experience on grant commitees “study groups” worked for MIT a private non-profit).
The funny projects actually sound to me as if they could be worth the money. In a comment on budgets, you should quote dollars spent. Also I am pretty sure they weren’t funded by the NIH (sounds like the NSF). I think they are useful to discussion of the NIH budget except for the parts about NIH and budget.
Robert, is the investigator initiated peer reviewed grants the reason for confusion of whether the government pays for the development of drugs or the private sector?
The NIH certainly subsidizes the development of drugs. Most of the basic science demonstrating druggable targets was NIH-supported. Drug companies are heavily reliant on the primary research literature to prosecute their development programs.
Joel, thanks for the comment.
Beene I think the answer to your question is Uh I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that NIH grants which contribute to drug development are pretty much universally (correctly) considered the government paying for the development of drugs.
Below I lose the track, but hell, I’ll post anyway because pixels are free.
Many of the NIH grants seem to be for pure science without practical applications (I write “seem to be” because often the purest science has the largest practical applications — the discovery of restriction enzymes and then Biotech was the result of the purest of pure research — also the atomic bomb).
The profit and loss statement and federal budget bottom lines are that total pharmaceutical company R&D costs more but on the order of the NIH budget (one to one and a half times IIRC). The NIH budget certainly can’t all be assigned to help in drug development. Aside from purely pure research which remains pure of applications, applications of NIH research include divices, surgical procedures, and all sorts of stuff.
Robert, most of us would agree with pure research or even research for private companies non-profit or profit. What I have a problem with is the taxpayer not getting a return on its’ investment or allowing patients for exportation of citizens.
Robert, thanks for the help.
Patients should be patents in above post.