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U.S. Researchers Begin Clinical Trial Of Zika Vaccine, But Funding To Run Out By August's End

U.S. Researchers Begin Clinical Trial Of Zika Vaccine, But Funding To Run Out By August's End

According to a report by Reuters, researchers in the U.S. began the first clinical trial of a Zika vaccine, but there is one major issue.

The Obama Administration said on Wednesday that funds allocated toward combating the Zika virus will run out soon due to congressional inaction. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when the virus appears to have been transmitted in the continental United States.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) stated that an early-stage clinical trial could consist of at least 80 healthy individuals at three separate study sites. That is, if the funding is still available.

Related Link: Several Recent Developments Have Zika-Related Stocks Rallying Over Last Few Days

President Obama proposed a $1.9 billion emergency fund to combat the Zika virus, but the Republican-backed Congress did not approve the law. This resulted in the government being forced to allocate $374 million from other health initiatives toward Zika-related activities.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) oversees the NIAID and the $222 million in funds available for its domestic Zika response will be virtually exhausted by the end of August.

"A safe and effective vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection and the devastating birth defects it causes is a public health imperative," NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO), a biopharmaceutical company, is among several public companies playing an active role in combating the Zika virus. The company has been granted approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin testing a Zika vaccine in humans.

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