U.S. Senate Passes Incentive For Zika Vaccine

Mar 21, 2016

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill encouraging companies to develop a Zika vaccine.

Companies that develop a Zika vaccine would get fast-track FDA approval of their next venture in the future. That would be done through a voucher program.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said the vouchers have sold for $125 million dollars.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s pedal to the metal, do the research, find the cure, find the vaccine, and get it as fast as possible,” Nelson said. “But you’re looking at at least a year.”

An identical bill in the House could be passed as early as this week. Researchers largely ignored Zika because of its mild symptoms, but it has recently been linked with severe birth defects.

Nelson has also been pushing for a Zika czar, but no word from President Barack Obama if that will happen.

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Abe Aboraya is a reporter for WMFE in Orlando. WMFE is part of Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.