Senators urge Trump to support universal flu vaccine bill

Senators urge Trump to support universal flu vaccine bill
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Seven senators are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE to support their legislation that would provide a $1 billion boost for research to create a universal flu vaccine.

Six Democrats and Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingThe Hill's 12:30 Report Sen. King ‘reasonably confident’ Russia is behind fake Facebook accounts A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration MORE (I-Maine) called the seasonal flu a “pressing public health threat, taking a substantial toll on our families, health care system, and economy each year” in a letter sent to Trump Friday.

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They wrote that they appreciated that Trump has reportedly expressed “strong interest” in the development of a universal vaccine.

In March, philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates was reportedly talking to Trump in the Oval Office about the idea, according to Stat. Gates said Trump was “super interested” in the notion — so much so that he called Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to ask him about the vaccine while Gates was still in the Oval Office.

Currently, health officials must predict which strains of the flu they believe will be most dangerous each season. But a universal flu vaccine would help fight many different strains.

This year was a particularly rough flu season, resulting in over 160 pediatric deaths. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has begun a phase two clinical trial on a potential universal flu vaccine candidate.