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Standing up for science

Standing up for science

The support and investment of the United States has been responsible for some of the most groundbreaking and historic health milestones in the world. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has led to highly effective treatments, such as of life-saving antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure antiretroviral prophylaxis, turning a fatal infection into a chronic, manageable one in many places. Millions of lives have been saved by implementing those scientific advances through the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, including the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission in several countries. These incredible achievements have positioned the US as a global leader in aspirational and innovative approaches to human health, garnering respect and gratitude from the world.

Today, potentially historic gains against HIV are within our grasp, including the possibilities of an HIV cure, a preventive vaccine and long-acting antiretroviral regimens. Yet, the US President’s first budget proposal threatens to slash support for the necessary life-saving scientific research that would get us there. This is not the time to pull back, but to put our foot on the gas to advance research and scientific discovery, as well as the delivery platforms, systems, and partnerships to make the research meaningful to reach the people who need it.

To generate the tools we need to save lives and tackle the health issues we face today, the NIH needs to be secure in its funding to make new commitments for multi-year research grants. The proposed 18% cut to the NIH budget – which includes the elimination of the NIH’s Fogarty International Center – would prevent the awarding of new grants and cripple important research endeavours. The budget savings from elimination of the Fogarty Center will be minimal – representing only 0.1% of the NIH budget – but the costs will be staggering, depriving the world of new generations of researchers who would undertake studies of vital importance.

To better understand the full ripple effects from the US funding cuts, we talked to three IAS Members and leading scientific researchers. Here is what they had to say…

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