R&D for global health featured at Congressional briefing

  Progress towards a healthier world cannot be made without sustained investments in global health research and development, according to Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ), who spoke at a Congressional briefing on the 21st Century Global Health Technology Act, a bill that would encourage and support USAID’s efforts to advance affordable, culturally appropriate, and easy-to-use health technologies.

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) and PATH hosted the Congressional briefing October 22 on “Saving lives through research: USAID’s role in creating breakthrough global health products.”

Speakers included Ms. Margaret McCluskey, Senior Technical Advisor at the US Agency for International Development; Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM); Ms. Renuka Gadde, VP of Global Health at Becton, Dickinson and Company; and Ms. Kari Stoever, VP of External Affairs at Aeras. The panel was moderated by Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director at RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund.

Read GHTC’s blog post on the briefing here.

Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ) commenced the briefing, speaking about the impact of global health technologies in some of the poorest parts of the world. Rep. Sires is co-sponsor, with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL).

Dr. Joanne Carter of RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund, moderated the panel. In her opening remarks, she stated that USAID is well-positioned to support and accelerate the work of Aeras in developing new tuberculosis vaccines.

Ms. Margaret McCluskey of USAID urged the audience to not go about “business as usual” when it comes to infectious diseases. She also spoke about the need to have a long-term vision for investments in global health R&D, particularly with vaccines. “If we need deliverables on a political timeline, we’re in trouble.” She expressed thankfulness for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense, two government entities that support vaccine development.

Ms. Kari Stoever, of Aeras, highlighted the importance of investments in TB vaccine R&D, and gave an overview of the case for investing in TB vaccine R&D and the potential impact of a new vaccine. She urged Congress to prioritize TB, and motivated the audience to raise a rally cry for TB.