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Lack of Funds Could Stall Zika Vaccine

Lack of Funds Could Stall Zika Vaccine

(Copyright DPC)

Monday, 15 August 2016 03:24 PM

Despite emergency funding, a lack of money could stall ongoing research on a Zika vaccine, a top health official says.

Last week, government agencies transferred millions of dollars in funding to aid the effort, but Dr. Anthony Fauci says $196 million is still needed to develop the vaccine, according to MedPage Today. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is developing the vaccine.

The Obama administration has sent $81 million in emergency funds to the project, and an additional $34 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also gone out. In addition, additional and $47 million to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, which is also working on the project. That money was diverted from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Children and Families, the article says.

The funding will be enough for the initial first and second stages of one potential vaccine, but there will not be enough to complete that project, or look at other potential vaccine candidates, says Fauci.

"We still need about $196 million more. Otherwise, second, third, and fourth candidates will get not only slowed down, we won't be able to start them,” he adds.  The agency had requested $277 million for a comprehensive Zika response.

The number of the mosquito-borne Zika cases continues to rise. In the U.S., the hotspot is Florida, with 28 cases of homegrown Zika and 413 of travel-related infection confirmed by state health officials. The count includes 58 infections of pregnant women. Officials in Louisiana are also worried flooding could worsen the mosquito situation there

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, and multiple Zika outbreaks have been confirmed throughout the world.

Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a potentially deadly birth defect in babies that causes them to be born brain damaged, as well as a variety of neurological problems in adults.

The subject of a Zika response has been a sore point on Capitol Hill, with each side blaming the other.  Although both chambers passed Zika funding bills in the spring -- $1.1 trillion in the Senate and $622 million in the House – efforts to find a compromise stalled when House Republicans included provisions that targeted Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act.



 

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A top health official says a lack of money could stall the U.S.'s efforts to find a vaccine to prevent Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that causes deadly birth defects.
zika, vaccine, us, research, funding, Congress
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2016-24-15
Monday, 15 August 2016 03:24 PM
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