Federal Officials: Zika Virus Scarier Than Initially Thought

Wednesday, April 13th 2016, 8:35 am
By: News 9

Federal officials now believe the Zika Virus is "a bit scarier than initially thought." 

In response, Congress passes a bill to speed up drug development. However, the bill does not provide the $1.9 billion in emergency funding President Obama wanted. But the bill does specifically add the Zika virus to a list of tropical diseases under a "priority" program, which means the FDA must respond within six months to an application for a new drug, or treatment for the disease.

The CDC has also recently stated they believe 30 states are at risk for the spread of virus, that does include all of Oklahoma.

"While we absolutely hope we don't see widespread local transmission in the continental U.S., we need the states to be ready for that," said Dr. Anne Schuchat with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bill now heads to President Obama's desk. The White House said Mr. Obama will sign it.

The administration has already decided to use $589 million in leftover funding from the Ebola epidemic to help fight the Zika virus.