Obama seeks corporate welfare funds for Zika vaccine

Roberta Rampton and Ben Hirschler
Reuters : February 8, 2016

White House seeks $1.8-billion in emergency funds for Zika virus

Barack Obama will ask the U.S. Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds to fight Zika at home and abroad and pursue a vaccine, the White House said on Monday, but the president also said there is no reason to panic over the mosquito-borne virus.

Zika, spreading rapidly in South and Central America and the Caribbean, has been linked to severe birth defects in Brazil and public health officials’ concern is focused on pregnant women and woman who may become pregnant.

Obama’s request to Congress includes $200 million for research, development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for the virus.

In addition, the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA), Europe’s drugs regulator, said it has formed an expert task force on Zika to advise companies working on vaccines and medicines against the virus.

There are no vaccines or treatment for Zika and none even undergoing clinical studies, as the disease had previously been viewed as relatively benign. Most infected people develop either no symptoms or mild ones like a fever and skin rashes.

(read the full article at The Globe & Mail

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