Feds transfer more money to fund Zika fight

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Government health agencies have been fighting Zika in Florida, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere with money transferred from Ebola projects. (WPVI)

The federal government is shifting more money from other programs to the fight against the zika virus.

Government health agencies have been fighting Zika in Florida, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere with money transferred from Ebola projects.

But that money is running out.

So today, officials notified Congress they're moving another 81 million dollars from other programs.

Nearly half of it is needed to continue tests on a Zika vaccine.

Government safety trials on one potential vaccine just started with a handful of volunteers.

But the next, and most important phase - in zika-infected areas - is in jeopardy.

The doctor overseeing those tests says today's transfer will help a little, but at the expense of other vital medical work.

"That's really bad for the biomedical research enterprise, because we're taking money from cancer. Diabetes - all those kinds of things," says Dr. Anthony Fauci.

But the Department of Health and Human Services soon will tap out its ability to transfer funds from other areas, leaving researchers without enough money to start preparing testing sites for a second trial phase of the vaccine or start trials of alternative Zika vaccines, Fauci told reporters Thursday afternoon.

"I'm actually good now until November or December, but then we're going to start getting into trouble," Fauci said.

Dr. Fauci says if there are gaps in funds, staff and programs to control Zika virus in Puerto Rico and Florida might have to be scaled down.
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