Increase Support for Small Business Innovative Research
Each year, viral disease sickens millions and causes thousands of hospitalizations and related deaths. Previously healthy people could get very sick from infectious disease and spread it to others. Viral infections can present particularly serious problems for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions, such as asthma and heart disease. Scientists today, more than previously, understand the underlying ways viral disease cause damage to our bodies including death.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of funding to transition our novel understanding of infectious disease to new preventative measures and treatments. There is an obvious reason for the lack of funding, other pressing health problems take center stage unless there are disease outbreaks.
One answer to this lack of funding is the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. SBIR has had an impressive record in supporting novel treatments for a variety of health concerns. Applications for federal SBIR grants receive rigorous scientific peer review. However, many applications designated as fundable fail to get awards because there are not enough funds. It is time to increase support for the SBIR program, especially for infectious disease.