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A Doctor's Note on Innovation

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Washington, July 9, 2020 | comments

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July 9, 2020

Dear Friends,

Today, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing on “Consumers Beware: Increased Risks During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” My questions centered around how technology is being used to help address COVID-19 issues. To this end, I recently introduced H.R. 6928, the Advancing 3D Printing Act.

We have seen numerous innovative uses of 3D printing. The University of Miami is completing a project to 3D print 1,000 nasopharyngeal swabs per day. The University of Minnesota is developing a 3D printing technique using motion capture to print electronic sensors directly on organs that are expanding and contracting, which could help patients with lung issues. Faculty and staff at the University of North Texas are also using 3D printers to create face shields.

American innovation has led us out of crises before and it will do so again.

National Updates
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released an updated Provider Burden Relief FAQ document, which describes some available provider flexibilities and the resumption of certain program integrity activities that have been suspended because of the public health emergency.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has established a clinical trials network that will help enroll volunteers in large-scale clinical trials testing for a variety of COVID-19 investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau approved an additional 25 funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, completing the distribution of allocated funds. Overall in Texas, over $7 million was distributed to 24 locations.

The Department of Defense awarded $34.6 million to Emergent Biosolutions to fund their collaboration with Mount Sinai Health system and ImmunoTek Bio Centers to develop and conduct a clinical trail testing a COVID-19 hyperimmuno globulin candidate.

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded over $21 million to expand COVID-19 testing capacity and otherwise support health centers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published information to help in the effort to learn more about how far COVID-19 spread throughout the United States, including information on serology surveillance, the seroprevalence in blood donors and large-scale geographic seroprevalence surveys.

Texas Updates
COVID-19 is still spreading throughout our communities in Texas, and we all need to do our part to stop the spread. Even young people with no underlying health conditions have become severely ill or died from COVID-19. As you go about enjoying your summer, remember to stay home if you feel ill, social distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands.

If you or someone you know is feeling ill and seeking a COVID-19 test, check this map of testing sites to find one near you.

Stay healthy Texas!

Until next time, this is your doctor's note.

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Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

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