Lack Of Funds Set To Halt Zika Virus Research

 Disease Specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci Makes Appeal

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci has noted that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) needs $33 million dollars immediately in order to move forward with trials of a vaccine for the Zika virus.

zika virusFauci heads the Infectious Disease program at the NIH. He said a phase one trial of a Zika vaccine began on August 2.

If it goes well, he said phase two would begin in January, but could be delayed if Congress fails to allocate money for the program.

If Congress fails to act, he said the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services could reallocate some money from other programs to fund the trials. Fauci spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. government has already shifted $34 million in funding to the National Institutes of Health and $47 million to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to work on Zika vaccines.

The announcement was made in a letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell addressed to Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Burwell said the funding was intended to keep Zika vaccine research going despite the lack of funding from U.S. lawmakers, who left for summer recess before allocating any funding to Zika research and preparedness.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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