The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed S 2512, the Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act, which is designed to better prepare the country for the Zika virus.
Now the bill has progressed to President Barack Obama, where it awaits his review and signature.
With this bill, the legislation includes the virus in its tropical disease lists. It will give vouchers to sponsors who develop new biological products and drugs to prevent or else to treat the disease.
“As we approach the summer months, the threat of the Zika virus is real, and we must do all we can to ensure we’re prepared -- this bill is a step in the right direction,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the bipartisan committee that handled the bill, said. “There’s still a lot we just don’t know about Zika, which makes research and development of vaccines and potential treatments all the more critical.”
The committee leaders have asked for briefings about the virus. These briefings will be gathered from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The House held an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing about the virus, encouraging the leaders to pass the bill.