U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) is requesting more funding for potential COVID-19 vaccines in any new coronavirus relief package.
“As you continue your work on critical legislation to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, I write to you today to urge your support for robust funding that will help accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments,” Daines wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Finding a cure to this virus will help save lives, restore confidence in our communities to safely reopen, and jumpstart our economy to reach the heights it did before the pandemic.”
Daines has been at the forefront of the effort to accelerate the development of drugs to treat COVID-19, helping to secure funding in the CARES Act.
“As you know, I worked with our Senate colleagues to secure $10 billion in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to accelerate the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments,” Daines wrote. “These funds were crucial for the creation of the Administration’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS), which is designed to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, with the first doses delivered as early as October 2020. So far, this initial investment has enabled OWS to advance clinical trials for several promising vaccine candidates and increase domestic manufacturing capabilities to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to the American people, but more funding will be needed to continue advancing the goals of OWS.”
Two American companies, Novavax and Regeneron, have received close to $2 billion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) through Operation Warp Speed to speed the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.