May 06, 2020
WASHINGTON – At the Republican leadership press conference yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) discussed the “SharkTank”-like effort he and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) proposed and secured funding for in the latest coronavirus funding bill. The new program at the National Institutes of Health brings together public and private-sector partners to speed up the development of COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
Following are Blunt’s Remarks:
“I think in both the fight for the economy and the fight against the virus, time really matters. So what we’ve tried to do in both the CARES Act and the follow up on the CARES Act, is to create a lot of incentives to speed up everything we can speed up. Whether it’s the ‘Shark Tank’, an idea that we put in our bill with Senator Alexander, Senator Shelby very involved in that along with me. Coming up with this idea that people would bring concepts to, as far along as they could get them on diagnostics and other things, and then the ‘Shark Tank’ will try to figure out the handful or whatever the number is that are more likely to work than not, and we’d fast forward as much as we could the opportunity to get into production.
“The White House with their warp speed on vaccine, bringing the same concept. I said at the lunch today to our members, that with this concept if some of the things we advance into production, underwritten by the federal government, don’t fail we’re not trying hard enough. The whole idea here is to try to buy time to move forward a couple of steps beyond where you would normally be, and because you would do that you would have a vaccine, you would have an easy to take and quick responded to test 30 or 60 days sooner than you would have if you did this the traditional way.
“If we do that on all these fronts, on testing, on therapeutics, on vaccines, hopefully in all three cases we’ll get where we want to get quicker than we would otherwise get there. And believe me, whatever we invest in that will be worth it if we are successful in buying that time in the fight, again, against the virus and for the economy.”