President Obama on Tuesday signed into law a bill aimed at encouraging pharmaceutical companies to help combat the Zika virus and develop vaccines.
The legislation puts the Zika virus--a mosquito-borne illness that is spreading throughout South and Central America--to the Food and Drug Administration's priority review voucher program in order to jump-start the development of treatments for tropical diseases.
In addition to this legislation, Mr. Obama's administration has been pushing for $1.9 billion in emergency funding for efforts to combat Zika, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed last week can cause birth defects.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health stressed the importance of adequate congressional funding for Zika efforts Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"That's the reason why we asked for it, because, right now, we're using money from other accounts to do that," he said of the Obama administration's request for more funding. "And that is going to be just a stopgap measure. We are going to have to get the money to be able to do the full job that we planned to do."
Despite growing concerns over the spread of the Zika virus abroad, however, Fauci also said Sunday there is no cause for alarm about its spread in the United States, noting that so far, its presence in the U.S. has been confined to more than 350 "travel-related cases," or cases picked up in countries with active Zika virus.
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