Sullivan, Carper Applaud New NIH Effort to Accelerate Treatment, Vaccine “Manhattan Project”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Tom Carper (D-Del.) applauded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH) on the launch of a new public-private partnership designed to accelerate the development of vaccines and treatment for COVID-19.

Last month, Sullivan and Carper, along with Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), led a group of bipartisan senators in calling on the Trump Administration to bring together NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the private sector in order to expedite and coordinate the development of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for the coronavirus. NIH’s new partnership, known as Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), will harness the expertise of government and industry partners, including the European Medicines Agency and more than a dozen leading biopharmaceutical companies, to develop an international strategy for a coordinated research response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

This new partnership, along with $11 billion in the CARES Act for treatments and to advance a vaccine—accomplishes many of goals of what Senator Sullivan has been calling a “Manhattan Project” to develop a vaccine.

“Having both served in the military, we know an all-hands-on-deck situation when we see one,” said Senators Sullivan and Carper. “This unprecedented pandemic, and the challenges it has brought to bear, is bigger than any one agency or industry. There’s no time to waste, and we need this kind of full-throated and collaborative approach—a modern day Manhattan Project—if we are going to get the coronavirus under control and keep Americans safe. After our call last month, we are pleased to see NIH moving forward with this unprecedented public-private partnership to bring experts from across the country and around the world together to maximize resources and speed the production of potentially life-saving treatments.”

ACTIV will have four fast-track focus areas, each of which will be led by a highly motivated working group of senior scientists representing government, industry and academia:

  1. Standardize and share preclinical evaluation methods in an open forum that allows for comparison and validation 
  2. Prioritize and accelerate clinical evaluation of therapeutic candidates with near-term potential 
  3. Maximize clinical trial capacity and effectiveness 
  4. Advance vaccine development 

 More information on ACTIV can be found here.