On April 27, 2020, Representatives Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) released a “concept paper” to build on the success of the 21st Century Cures Act (Pub. L. 114-255) and improve the country’s surveillance and testing capabilities urgently needed to respond COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Representatives DeGette and Upton originally introduced the first 21st Century Cures Act in the House on May 19, 2015. The House passed the bill with strong bipartisan support and it was signed into law by President Obama on December 13, 2016.
The Representatives’ April concept paper covers six key areas with initiatives across multiple agencies.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light health care policies and programs that work for our nation and exposes those where modernization and improvement are needed. Initially targeted toward improving personalized therapies in general, the immediate impact of the 21st Century Cures Act was seen in cancer treatment and regenerative medicine. However, personalized medicine’s focus on diagnostics and follow up has provided a framework for further application to infectious disease. Fast action is necessary, and DeGette and Upton are hoping to put the pandemic and clinical trial portions into the next round of COVID-19 funding bills.1
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1 Baumann “Cures 2.0 Aims to Speed Up Virus Response, Curb Future Outbreaks” see https://news.bloomberglaw.com/pharma-and-life-sciences/cures-2-0-aims-to-speed-up-virus-response-curb-future-outbreaks.