HomeWashington Letter2020 ▶ ATS Advocates for NHLBI COVID-Related Research
ATS Advocates for NHLBI COVID-Related Research

This week, the ATS co-led a letter to Congress with the American Heart Association and 29 other health professional and patient organizations, requesting funding for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s COVID-19 related research in the next emergency COVID-19 response legislation. The NHLBI has a five-point research strategy to address COVID-19 morbidity and mortality and to develop new therapeutics for the disease. The letter, sponsored by the NHLBI Constituency Group, chaired by the ATS andthe American Heart Association, asks Congress to provide $300 million for NHLBI’s COVID-19 related basic, clinical and translational research across heart, lung, blood and sleep.

The NHLBI Constituency Group letter notes that people with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are at greater risk of life-threatening complications and a substantially higher risk of death from COVID-19, with some studies indicating that critically ill COVID-19 patients with COPD have a 63 percent higher risk of severe disease and a 60 percent higher death rate.

The letter states, “Supplemental funding of $300 million would allow the NHLBI to sustain and expand its investment in vital basic, clinical, and translational research across heart, lung, blood and sleep to address these critical needs related to COVID-19 and prepare for additional waves of disease in the coming months, including protection of our most vulnerable populations.” The NHLBI also points to the need for robust funding through fiscal year 2021 spending, saying, “These resources in addition to a strong regular Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation are vital to allow the institute to address COVID-19 while maintaining progress on other national cardiovascular, respiratory, sleep and blood-related research priorities.”

The House passed a COVID-19 emergency supplemental bill on May 15. Although the bill did not include funding for NHLBI’s COVID-related research, the ATS and the NHLBI Constituency Group are advocating with senators to ensure that the institute receives such funding in the Senate bill, which is expected to begin moving in early July. In addition, the ATS continues to advocate for increased funding for NIH overall, including for institutes such as the NIEHS, in both the next COVID-supplemental legislation and in fiscal year 2021 spending.

Last Reviewed: June 2020