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K-State Studying Zika Virus Despite Lack of Dedicated Federal Funds

Congress hasn't been able to reach agreement on federal funding to study the Zika virus, but that hasn’t stopped researchers at Kansas State University.

K-State scientists are looking at how the virus infects mosquitos and which mosquito species can transmit Zika. That information can help control the spread of the disease.

Stephen Higgs is director of K-State’s Biosecurity Research Institute.

“The priority is because of the suffering of so many people and the spread of this virus into new areas, [and] the lack of knowledge that we really have related to this particular virus,” says Higgs.
K-State has also grown the virus in the lab and provided samples to other researchers.

Higgs says they’re applying for existing grant funding, but he says federal funds targeted at Zika research would be helpful because the high-containment facilities and staff members studying the virus are expensive.

Thursday, the CDC announced it would award $60 million in funding to fight Zika as a "stopgap" until Congress acts. That includes $350,000 for Kansas.

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