Florida awards grants for Zika research, vaccine development

Posted at 6:24 AM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 06:24:56-05

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Ten universities and research institutions in Florida have been awarded grants to speed up development of a Zika vaccine, devise new testing methods and study the long-term impacts of the mosquito-borne virus.

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Gov. Rick Scott announced the 34 grant awards Wednesday in Tampa. The grants are funded through $25 million that Scott authorized last year for Zika research and vaccine development.

The state's surgeon general, Dr. Celeste Philip, said in a statement that Florida can't relax its efforts to fight the Zika virus during the current winter reprieve from mosquitoes.

According to a statement from Scott's office, the University of Miami received the largest grant award: over $13 million for Zika test and vaccine development, as well as studies of the virus' effects in children and pregnant women.