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University of Florida Receives $1.75 Million to Study Zika Virus

The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Florida more than $1.75 million to study the Zika virus spreading across Florida.

UF made the announcement Thursday.

 “Not only are we doing great research on the Zika virus, but for the first time we’re also getting awards to support that research,” said Dr. J. Glenn Morris, MD, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute (EPI).

The money from the NIH will be allocated over four years to supplement ongoing research into diseases in Haiti. On top of the funding, UF environmental and global health associate professor Dr. Bernard Okech received a $100,000 to support his research into mosquitoes transmitting the virus.

“The funds we are receiving to support our research on the Zika outbreaks in the Caribbean will help us begin to understand the risk to Florida,” Dr. Morris said.

Mosquitoes have ravaged South America and the Caribbean with the virus, but it has spread in Florida, too, primarily due to its proximity to those regions. 

Researchers will investigate different types of mosquitoes as well as the Aedes aegypti mosquito which commonly transmits the virus. They hope to be able to use their research to predict future outbreaks of the virus and study the effect Zika has on pregnant women and their fetuses. 


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