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House and Senate Legislation To Put Coronavirus Mutations on the Defensive

Four Democrats introduced legislation to vaccinate 60% of COVAX-eligible countries, costing $34 billion, modeled on the global HIV/AIDS program. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Legislation was introduced in the House and Senate today, aimed at attacking COVID-19 internationally, wiping out the pockets where new variants are created, and, in the process, protecting Americans from them. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi has agitated for this approach, and he is joined by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Elizabeth Warren , in introducing the NOVID Act — Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate.

Presently, the UN’s COVAX aims to vaccinate 20% of the populations in 92 low- and middle-income countries in 2020, but they are far off that mark. Most epidemiologists think that, under these conditions, variants that would defeat present vaccination programs are, on average, a year from doing so. NOVID would inoculate at least 60% of this group at a cost of $34 billion by increasing production and distribution. It is modeled upon the successful President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, which has for almost two decades set the global standard for targeted bilateral public health interventions. In the House, original cosponsors include: Representatives Ro Khanna, Steve Cohen, Donald M. Payne, Jr, Raul M. Grijalva, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Andre Carson, and Deborah Ross.

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