At a Senate health committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., stressed the importance of developing new testing in order to combat COVID-19.
The hearing, which Enzi participated in via video conference to follow social distancing guidelines, focused on how the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are working to support the rapid development of tests for COVID-19.
“This is a critical thing for our nation,” Enzi said. “We’re having to scramble to catch up, and that means we are conducting early stage research at the same time that we are trying to move products through advanced development stages.”
Enzi noted that the Administration has announced a number of public-private partnerships geared toward bringing federal agencies and private industry together to develop medical countermeasures for the coronavirus. Enzi asked for clarification about how NIH and BARDA are working together, with other agencies and also with the private sector in these efforts.
“It has been astounding to see the way in which people have rolled up their sleeves and plunged in to the effort to advance therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. “In my time at NIH – 27 years now – I learn over and over again: If you want to get something done, find all of the potential contributors who have skills, talents, energy, motivation and resources, and let’s do it together. And that’s certainly what we have to do in a time like this with this global pandemic all around us.”