Congress Wednesday approved $8.3 billion in emergency funding to respond to the spreading novel coronavirus, which has already infected 80 people across 13 states and killed nine in the U.S. alone.
Over $3 billion of that investment will go to the R&D of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics — and some will likely go into the corporations working on technologies to fight the disease.
Additional $2.2 billion will fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), along with $950 million to back state and local health authorities. Nearly half of the $950 million will be distributed within the next 30 days to help states pay for test kits and services, with no state getting less than $4 million.
The bill features a $300 million carveout to help ensure that all Americans can get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it’s built — regardless of their ability to pay.
Other agencies that are set to receive money as a part of the spending bill include the National Institutes of Health, which will secure $836 million, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which will get a $1.3 billion block of investment.
As a part of the spending package, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will receive $61 million to pay for vaccine testing and other efforts, along with new spending to boost U.S. manufacturing of critical medical units and pharmaceuticals whose supply networks are jeopardized by their dependence on components and materials made in China.
Remote care is also getting a lift under the spending plan. Telehealth services will get a $500 million boost from Medicare spending so that elderly sufferers can avert going to emergency facilities and risk potential exposure.