The Bush administration has ordered the National Institutes of Health to shift millions in funding from existing research projects, including those for AIDS, to efforts aimed at developing a new anthrax vaccine, Newsday reports. More than 500 researchers will be affected by the shift in funding caused by the Bush administration's mandate to develop an anthrax vaccine that came with no additional financial allocations from Congress. In order to pay for the new research, funds will be diverted from existing research programs on AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the decree by the Administration is "unprecedented" in its call for a major new scientific research project without any financial support for it. Although an anthrax vaccine already exists, Bush and some members of Congress have pushed for the creation of a new vaccine based on more advanced technology. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, four-year research projects in other areas will likely be shortened to 3 1/2 years and two-year projects reduced to 1 1/2 years to pay for the anthrax initiative. "We're not happy about it, but we tried to do what was least painful," Fauci said.