Meng Secures Provisions to Increase Awareness and Research of Hepatitis
Sep 4, 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee who has worked to combat to hepatitis, announced today that she secured several important initiatives to increase awareness and research of the silent infection. These items include measures that the Congresswoman attached to a key fiscal year 2020 spending bill that recently passed the House of Representatives. They consist of the following:
Providing $50 million for the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Viral Hepatitis which works to combat viral hepatitis.
Providing an increase of $11 million for the CDC to develop a plan to boost hepatitis B vaccines in adults. Despite the availability of the vaccine, less than 25 percent of adults age 19 and older are vaccinated. The provision encourages the CDC to partner in this effort with states, local health departments, and leading hepatitis B organizations.
Calling for an update on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) research on liver cancer. With up to 60 percent of global liver cancer cases caused by hepatitis B, the provision encourages greater priority for addressing liver cancer, and continued close collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and active participation in the newly-established Trans-NIH Hepatitis B working group.
Urging NIDDK to pursue research laid out in “Roadmap for a Cure’’ in which the hepatitis B research community identified the most urgent research questions related to hepatitis B. The provision also calls for NIDDK to work in coordination with other institutes and centers on hepatitis B research planning.
Urging the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) director to use the common fund to support research by the Trans-NIH Hepatitis B working group. The group includes NCI, NIAID, NIDDK and the Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) which coordinate their agendas to fund research seeking a cure for hepatitis B, and improving liver cancer outcomes. The NIH common fund seeks to support research between two or more NIH entities.
“It is critical that we do all we can to raise awareness of and eliminate hepatitis, once and for all,” said Meng. “As Co-Chair of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus, I remain fiercely committed to that effort, and these provisions will go a long way towards helping us reach these critical goals. I look forward to securing more resources in future appropriations bills.”
In July, Meng sponsored legislation to recognize July 28th as World Hepatitis Day, and she helped to introduce a measure that would designate April 30th as National Adult Hepatitis B Vaccination Awareness Day. She has also taken part in several public events and forums in New York and Washington, D.C. that highlighted the importance of getting tested and vaccinated.
Meng’s provisions were included the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill.