The director of the National Institutes of Health says an Ebola vaccine would be ready by now if it were not for cuts to the NIH budget.
"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,' " Dr. Francis Collins told The Huffington Post in an article published Sunday. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."
The NIH budget, at $29.3 billion in 2013, is almost the same as it was in 2004, at $28 billion, which does not factor in inflation. The budget is down from $31 billion in 2010.
Collins said he hopes that Congress will pass emergency funding for the NIH, but "nobody seems enthusiastic about that."
Collins said the agency is already "cutting corners" in a rush to get the vaccine ready, but it will be at least December before there are clinical trials and February or March to know the results.
Having a vaccine has grown urgent as Ebola spreads in West African countries, and two cases have been confirmed in the United States.