WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – A bill cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to encourage the timely development of a Zika virus vaccine and treatment advanced to the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill was introduced in February and would add Zika to a key U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program called the Priority Review Voucher Program, which encourages the development of treatments for neglected tropical diseases.
“When public health threats like Zika are no more than a plane ride away, we must make every effort to respond quickly to prevent the spread of illness,” said Brown. “By providing an incentive to companies who act quickly to develop vaccines or treatments for Zika, we will be better equipped to combat this disease and take the steps necessary to contain it and care for those who’ve come in contact with the virus. My bill will add Zika to the list of diseases eligible for an FDA priority review voucher, encouraging companies to invest important resources toward Zika prevention and response efforts.”
Last week, Brown called on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund President Barack Obama’s $1.9 billion emergency supplemental request to combat the Zika virus.
In addition to introducing legislation, Brown, along with U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), pressed the Department of Health and Human Services to add Zika to the Priority Review Voucher Program through a letter to the agency.