HomeWashington Letter2015 ▶ NIH Leaders Testify Before House Panel on Antibiotic Resistance, COPD and TB
NIH Leaders Testify Before House Panel on Antibiotic Resistance, COPD and TB

March 2015

This week, the House Labor-Health and Human Services and Education subcommittee of the House Appropriations committee, chaired by Rep. Cole (R-OK), held a budget hearing on the NIH. Witness included NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., NHLBI Director Gary Gibbons, M.D., NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, M.D., and NIGMS Director Jon Lorsch, Ph.D.

In his testimony, Dr. Collins discussed a number of focus areas of discovery and advancement, including antibiotic resistance, where he said the institute is expanding efforts, including through a new rapid response clinical trial network, to develop new antibiotics, like teixobactin, recently identified by an NIH grantee that shows potential in treating Methicillin -resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and drug resistant tuberculosis. He reported on NIH's progress towards a universal flu vaccine, stating that flu vaccine candidates have now moved into early stage trials. Dr. Collins also highlighted two new NIH initiatives to strengthen the biomedical workforce, the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative, a new set of training awards, and creation of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), a nationwide, interconnected cadre of experienced mentors linked to mentees from diverse scientific and social backgrounds.

During the witness panel's questions by the subcommittee members, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), revealed that her mother recently died from COPD and she asked about progress towards COPD prevention and new treatments. Dr. Gibbons responded that NHLBI clinical trials, including the nocturnal oxygen trial, that are providing a better course of life for patients with the disease. He emphasized the opportunities in precision medicine to diagnose and treat the disease earlier in the course and of the potential for improved understanding of COPD through genomic med that will pave the way for development of new therapeutics.

Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), ranking member of the subcommittee, reported that she was in Haiti recently, where drug resistant TB is a problem, and asked what is in the pipeline for drug resistant TB. NIAID Director Dr. Fauci responded that there is good news on in this area as a result of the institute's partnership with Jensen and Jensen which has identified two promising drug candidates for treating multi-drug resistant TB. Subcommittee members commended Dr. Collins and the panel for their leadership.

Last Reviewed: October 2017