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Cubin Calls for Action to Combat Infectious Disease Spread

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Cubin Calls for Action to Combat Infectious Disease Spread
Cubin Bill Provides Incentives for New Research and Development

U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin is calling on the House of Representatives to move legislation introduced by the Congresswoman and University of Wyoming alum Representative Brian Baird (D-WA) to combat the rampant spread of infectious diseases currently surfacing across the United States.

Cubin, along with Representative Baird, sent a letter to all 435 Members of the House of Representatives urging them to co-sponsor and push Democratic leadership to pass the Beating Bird-Flu In Research and Development (BIRD) Act, legislation introduced by Cubin and Baird earlier this year.

Cubin wrote the BIRD Act two years ago anticipating the need to develop new drugs to combat newly emerging resistant diseases, including drug-resistant staph infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), life-threatening gram negative bacteria such as E.coli, influenza and Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. Cubin recognized that it was no longer profitable for biotechnology companies, large and small, to invest in the research and development of new antibiotics to fight these diseases. She introduced the BIRD Act to encourage this development with tax credits for product research and development, tax credits for manufacturing, patent extensions and expedited approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Today infectious diseases are plaguing the country and Cubin is once again calling on Congress to take action on her bill.

"New assessments by the American Medical Association have found that a single germ, known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), kills more people in the U.S. each year than does AIDS and infects more people annually than strep infections, bacterial pneumonia and meningitis combined," Cubin wrote in a letter to her House colleagues. "These startling statistics highlight the need for more incentives to conduct research and development into ways to prevent and treat life-threatening infectious diseases, such as MRSA."

Cubin's call for immediate action on the BIRD Act comes on the heels of a recent infectious disease outbreak, which has seen three deaths and numerous school closures across the country as a result of MRSA. The life-threatening bacteria has been turning up increasingly not just in hospitals, but also in small outbreaks outside of heath-care settings, such as among athletes, prison inmates and children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA has become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics and is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections and nearly 19,000 deaths each year.

"The fact is, the drugs we used to count on to cure just about anything aren't always working anymore," Cubin said. "Drug resistant diseases like MRSA are taking lives across the country and not enough is being done to develop new tools to fight this emerging threat."

Cubin introduced legislation similar to the BIRD Act during the 109th Congress.

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