THE SPREAD OF EBOLA from Africa to the United States and Europe has become an issue of great concern for governments and health officials across the globe. The Obama administration reacted to the situation, tasking the newly appointed “Ebola Czar” Ron Klain to coordinate the U.S. Government’s response to the spread of the deadly virus.
Many lobbyists have also joined in the battle against the virus. The Hill has reported that approximately a dozen organizations have already begun lobbying efforts around the disease. To many, like Dr. Larry Brilliant, a senior adviser to the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the current outbreak of the virus has demonstrated our need for new technologies and practices in combatting the spread of infectious diseases in our increasingly globalized world.
On Monday it was announced that Squire Patton Boggs signed a new deal with Hemispherx Biopharma Inc. to represent the company to officials both domestically and abroad. Hemispherx has developed two experimental anti-viral drugs, Ampligen and AlferonN, which it wants to test against Ebola virus. Similarly, medical machinery company Zimek has enlisted the help of lobbying firm Dentons US to assist with promoting its infection control and biohazard technologies.
The outbreak, which began in March, originated in Western Africa and has, to this point, claimed the lives of approximately 4,500 people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As the Ebola outbreak develops, debate on Capitol Hill will continue on the allocation of funds for both the research and combatting of the disease. Congressional action on Ebola has significant implications for both the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists as firms are increasingly called upon to lobby both Congress and federal agencies like the National Institute of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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