Transcript for Congress Looks to Fast-Track Zika Drug Research
Now to the big health alert about the zika virus. The house now taking a big step passing a bill to speed up zika drug research as health officials say Americans and at least 30 states could potentially be at risk. Joining us now from bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the national institute for allergy and infectious disease at the national institutes of health. Thank you very much for your time this morning. I know you spoke recently at that white house briefing where the CDC announced that the zika virus could be scarier than first thought. What does that exactly mean, sir? Well, there's several things. One, it's obviously spreading, you know, rather rapidly. We're seeing cases that are travel related cases coming to the United States. We haven't seen local cases yet. But when you look at the ability of this virus to destroy tissue of the brain and neurological tissue, that its ability to cause damage to the neurological system is really getting rather concerning, even more so than we thought originalfully sir, does it go beyond pregnant women here and how close is there to finding a treatment? I think when we talk about treatment, that's something that is probably in the distance, in the sense of it's an acute viral infection. We really need to think about prevention, and one of the ways you can prevent obviously it is to develop a vaccine and that's something we have on very much of a fast track to try and begin some studies, early studies of vaccine candidates that we have lined up. The other is mosquito control. Not only controlling mosquitoes, killing mosquitoes, preventing their breeding but also protecting pregnant women with things like making sure we can avoid mosquito contact. You know we have the CDC recommendation that people in the United States who are pregnant thinking of becoming pregnant going to these areas should really not travel to the involved areas. The president asked for $1.9 billion in funding last February as we were reporting the house is now finally acting upon it. What do you need, doctor, to be able to properly face this? We need the money to begin and continue the programs we've already started with the programs now. We can't delay, but the money that was asked for is really absolutely necessary for us to get the job done. All right. Dr. Fauci, thank you very much for your tireless efforts. We appreciate it very much. Good to be with you. Of course, adding to the growing concerns summer will be here before we know it. It's real eye opening to see that red spread across the U.S.
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