BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- The looming sequester may dramatically slow medical research.
Officials at the National Institutes of Health warn the budget cuts they face if the sequester is implemented will be devastating to new research.
NIH faces a possible 1.5 billion dollar cut, which would mean a 5 percent cut across the board for every program.
National Institutes of Health Director, Dr. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. says, "Cuts will spell slower progress against our most common diseases, such as alzheimer's, cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and heart disease."
Dr. Collins says cuts may also mean a delay in creating the next vaccine for influenza.
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) toured NIH Wednesday afternoon. She warns of the direct impact the research cuts may have in her home state.
Sen. Mikulski says, "It will be an impact on 15-thousand Marylanders, who work either at NIH or who benefit from the research funding at other Maryland institutions, whether it is Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland and nearby institutes."
The Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee warns if action is not taken soon, we will be hurting ourselves as a nation.
Sen. Mikulski says, "We talk a lot about threats to the United States, we fear foreign predators and terrorism. We fear foreign competition, 'oh, what are the chinese doing?', but what we are about to inflict upon us is a self-inflicted wound."
The deadline to end the federal fiscal standoff to avoid the sequester cuts is March 1st.