Zika fight has only weeks of funding left

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You wouldn’t know that Zika fear exists by looking at Florida tourism numbers. It is “the highest amount of visitors of any six months in the state’s history with 57.4 million visitors,” according to Governor Rick Scott’s office.

But that was before the last few weeks when the first Florida transmitted cases of Zika were discovered. At last count, there were nearly 30 non-travel related cases of Zika in Miami-Dade County. And now there is a push for a vaccine.

RELATED: Tourists still flocking to Florida in record numbers for now

“Researchers are about to start testing that vaccine and they’re going to run out of money and they’re not going to continue to test it if we come with a vaccine, we found the solution,” Senator Marco Rubio said.

This week there was a life line for that research when $80 million was repurposed from Ebola to Zika research. Still research groups need more. The funds will run out at the end of August.

RELATED: Sarasota blood bank uses technology to flush Zika out of platelets

“We’ve reached the point now in August 2016 that if I don’t get some additional money — because we’re already used up the money I borrowed from myself, using up the money that the secretary allowed me to spend from other accounts. If I don’t get additional money, literally within the next days to weeks, then what’s going to happen is that the transition into the phase ii trial will get dramatically delayed and may not even be able to go forward,” Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institute of Health said.

The push is on for Congress to get back to work, to provide additional funding.

RELATED: 4 more mosquito-borne Zika cases in same Miami-Dade area

News Channel 8 asked Senator Rubio if he’s had conversations with his colleagues about getting back to work so Congress can provide more funding.

“We have. I talked to the majority leader a few days ago. I’ve expressed to them once again the urgency to go back and get the funding done,” Senator Rubio said.

Rubio says that state and local governments are also spending millions on mosquito control, money he believes Congress should reimburse.

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