After a second American healthcare worker contracted the Ebola virus, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today at a Congressional hearing sharply questioned the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the failed protocol that led to the new infections and about what can be done to ensure the safety of all Americans moving forward.
"I'm greatly concerned that the Administration did not act fast enough. The Administration needs to be looking at all options available to keep our families safe, and they need to move as quickly and responsibly as possible to make any necessary changes at our airports and hospitals that would prevent this disease from spreading further," Braley said. "Our number one priority in combating this disease must be the protection of Americans."
Panelists at today's hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations included CDC Director Thomas Frieden, Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, Luciana Borio of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Robin Robinson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), John Wagner of the Department of Homeland Security, and Daniel Varga of Texas Health Resources.
Braley pushed Frieden on what additional steps could be taken in order to prevent those infected with the Ebola virus from entering the country--and how to prevent additional transmission by those already infected.
"We're looking very closely at what might possibly have happened to result in these two exposures," Frieden responded.
Braley also questioned panelists concerning NewLink Genetics, of Ames Iowa, which is currently testing an Ebola vaccine that is involved in clinical trials--but are awaiting the finalizing of contracts that could expedite the process of mass manufacturing. Braley urged panelists from the National Institutes of Health and U.S Food and Drug Administration to expedite the process.
"I had an opportunity to talk to two of (NewLink's) employees yesterday and I know that they are working around the clock trying to help come up with a vaccine," Braley said.