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Billion More?

A pair of US Senators is looking to increase biomedical research funding by $1 billion annually over 10 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have met this week with industry representatives to discuss their plan, the Journal adds.

The Ebola outbreak has "shone a bright light upon the fact that medical research is critical for protecting us against all manner of illnesses," Francis Collins, the directors of the National Institutes of Health, tells the Journal. "The hang-up has been figuring out how in our very difficult fiscal climate medical research could continue to flourish."

NIH has suffered in recent years from a stagnating budget in which, by some estimates, it has received less in funding now than it did in 2003, after accounting for inflation.

Under the bill being developed by Warren and Hatch, some 75 percent of the funds would to go NIH, and the rest would be split among four other agencies: the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The senators, the Journal adds, are still working out the offsets they'd need to fund the bill.