At a time when talented researchers are often forced to wait years to immigrate to the United States and many clamor to close the borders or to suspend legal immigration, it is important to remember who we often turn to for help in a crisis. The current H1N1 epidemic is a case in point. Apparently research teams in Chicago and Atlanta are working 24/7 with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to try to develop an antibody therapy to provide temporary immunity to the disease, which could be a available much faster than the development of a vaccine. Rafi Ahmed, a vaccine expert at Emory University in Atlanta and Patrick Wilson, his counterpart at the University of Chicago are waiting to receive blood samples from the CDC to engineer antibodies to attack specific proteins related to the H1N1 virus.
Dr. Ahmed is originally from India and he is a vaccine expert He earned his PH.D. from Harvard and was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999. He serves as the principal investigator on two grants from the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Presently, an Indian national with a doctoral or master’s degree in science from a U.S. university faces an almost six year wait for an immigrant visa to the United States. See the State Department Visa Bulletin at http://tinyurl.com/cxlb2b. This time frame includes physicians and many are desperately needed throughout the U.S. Take a look at the recent report of the Association of American Medical Colleges. For example, the baseline physician FTE supply projected for 2025 is 734,900 physicians while the demand is expected to be 859,300. http://www.aamc.org/workforce/ Now is not the time to wait to take action on immigration reform.