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Senate Republicans release coronavirus relief bill with boosts for vaccine R&D, funding to restart NIH-funded labs

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Senate Republicans Monday released proposed coronavirus relief legislation that includes $25 billion for COVID-19 testing, $26 billion for vaccine R&D and distribution, and big funding increases for BARDA and NIH. The funding is in line with text leaked to reporters last week (see “White House Backs Testing, Vaccines Boost in Coronavirus Bill”).

The bill sets up a negotiation with House Democrats that could take weeks to complete.

The $15.5 billion allocated for NIH in the Senate bill is $11 billion more than the amount specified in the House of Representative’s coronavirus relief bill.

The Senate bill includes $1.2 billion for the ACTIV public-private partnership to prioritize and speed the development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. It also goes beyond the development of COVID-19 countermeasures, including funding to recover from pandemic-related shutdowns. It provides $10.1 billion to reopen NIH-funded research laboratories and reconstitute lost research, and $240 million to provide resources targeted young researchers who need additional research time as post-doctoral candidates because of lost research/training due to COVID-19.

The Senate bill seeks to establish a new COVID-19 vaccination distribution campaign coordinated through CDC, and provides $6 billion to develop and execute the initiative.

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