The Department of Health and Human Services has decided to move $81 million in funds from other research programs to efforts that seek to advance development work on vaccines against Zika virus, Reuters reported Thursday.
Julie Steenhuysen and Toni Clarke write HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) that she would redirect $47 million in department funds toward the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to help BARDA ink vaccine development contracts with partners.
Burwell would also shift $34 million in funds toward the National Institutes of Health to facilitate development of vaccines against the mosquito-borne virus, according to the report.
She also told Pelosi that BARDA requires an additional $342 million to develop diagnostics and pathogen inactivation systems designed to safeguard the blood supply from Zika virus, Clark and Steenhuysen write.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky) said in a statement released Thursday that he is pleased with the HHS’ move to use funds from other programs to support vaccine development efforts.
“I urge the Senate Democrats and the White House to approve the legislation already passed by the House, so that these funds to prevent and stop the spread of the Zika virus can be used quickly, effectively, and responsibly,” Rogers added.