East Hawaii News

Gabbard Votes to Accelerate Development of Zika Virus Vaccines, Treatment

April 12, 2016, 4:12 PM HST
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vaccine pixabayRepresentative Tulsi Gabbard issued a statement on Tuesday following the United States House of Representatives’ unanimous passing of Senate Bill 2512.

The Bill adds the Zika virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act, which would encourage the development of vaccines and treatments against the Zika Virus by adding it to the Food and Drug Administration’s Priority Review Voucher Program.

In March, the Senate passed the bill, and now it is headed to the desk of the President.

“Earlier this year, the CDC raised its emergency level to Level 1 status in response to the Zika virus, something that has only been done three times in the past—during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said Representative Gabbard. “Just yesterday, the CDC confirmed that the effects of the Zika virus are even more harmful to human health than they originally suspected, and that the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the Zika Virus, as well as dengue fever, are already present in 30 states, including Hawaiʻi. Still, we have yet to adequately respond to this rapidly rising threat.

“These dangerous vector mosquitos have the potential to continue spreading diseases like the Zika virus and dengue fever very rapidly. In just over 3 months, there have been 346 cases of the Zika virus in the United States, and over the past 6 months, there have been 263 cases of dengue fever in Hawaiʻi alone. We must expedite the research and development needed to find an effective treatment, or even a potential cure, to these mosquito-borne diseases. Today’s vote to accelerate the development of Zika virus vaccines and treatments is one step toward achieving that objective. At a practical level, we must bring together federal, state, and local governments, private sector partners, and other key stakeholders to get rid of this mosquito and contain the outbreaks we already have, and prevent future spread.”

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