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 TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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 KingSenate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic 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.