Bill passes HELP Committee, heads to the Senate floor; Connecticut companies are currently developing vaccines for Zika

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)¸ a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, voted for the Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act, which unanimously passed in the HELP committee. The bill would add Zika as an eligible disease to receive a priority review voucher from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which would expedite the development of new vaccines. Connecticut companies, like Protein Sciences in Meriden, Atwater Laboratory in Storrs, and CargoGen Corp. in Farmington, are currently developing vaccines to combat Zika. The bill now heads to the Senate floor for a vote. 

“Today, we are one step closer to getting help to those who need it,” said Murphy. “FDA vouchers will make a big difference in getting a vaccine quickly to market so we can treat current cases and reduce the potential of an outbreak here at home. We have learned our lesson from crises like Ebola, so getting in front of this outbreak must be a priority. I call on my colleagues to immediately pass this bill and support the emergency funding President Obama asked for to end this epidemic.”

Murphy will continue his call for emergency funding to combat the outbreak. Last week, Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, led a group of 24 senators in calling for full funding of President Obama’s $1.9 billion emergency supplemental request. The World Health Organization projects the Zika virus could affect up to 4 million people in 2016, highlighting the urgency of a coordinated response.