The Republicans Caused Ebola

  • by: |
  • 10/13/2014
Democrats are blaming Ebola on budget cuts to NIH made by Republicans.  Francis Collins agrees.  They may not be in cahoots but they are both way wrong. 

The facts:

NIH budgets have increased since 2001 except for 2011.  

The NIH - through the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases -- has received $11 billion for research and development to find diagnostics, drug and vaccines for Ebola and other lethal pathogens.  In fact in 2010,  NIAID received an additional $304 million when Congress diverted money for buying vaccines from the Bioshield procurement fund.  And each year the budget was never cut, except for 2011.

If you go to and type in Ebola, Marburg or other viral hemorrhagic fevers and limit your search to NIH sponsored trials here's what you get.  

The only study completed that actually reported results was a test of yellow fever vaccine on people with excema 

The NIH developed 7 Ebola vaccines.. None of which worked.   $11 billion.  7 vaccines.  No results. 

There are several drugs that do work.  TKM-Ebola and three drugs from a company called Sarepta.  AVI-7537 has already shown effectiveness in non-human primates against the Zaire Ebolavirus, the species implicated in the current outbreak. Moreover, Sarepta had been conducting Phase 1 safety trials with the drug alone and together another Ebola-directed PMOplus molecule (AVI-7539, with the combination called AVI-6002).   Sarepta's work was being funded by the Department of Defense, NOT NIH.   The administration and Congress could have transferred the money from Bioshield to the DOD work under a cooperative research agreement but it did not.   The dough went to NIH. 

According to a recent article in Forbes, Sarepta " does indeed have clinical trial-quality drug on hand. The Marburg program that has continued “uses the same backbone chemistry,” so the safety studies that are continuing with that drug at higher human doses could be applied to AVI-7537.

The company's CEO Chris Garabedian told Forbes: “We’re here to raise awareness that we do have a technology that might be helpful, and that we do have drug substance on hand if we received a request from a government agency,” said Garabedian. “We, of course, would have to get the appropriate waivers and approvals from the Department of Defense who supported the development of this compound as well as the FDA in terms of an emergency use authorization.”


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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