Florida to offer first look at Zika research funded with $25 million in grants
In the year since the first outbreak of Zika in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, Florida has awarded $25 million in grants to universities and research institutes working to learn about the long-term health effects of the virus on infants and to develop new therapies, including a vaccine and diagnostic tests.
On Monday, the Florida Department of Health will offer a look at the 34 different projects funded through the Zika Research Grant Initiative during a daylong symposium hosted by Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
The symposium will include discussion of research into the long-term health effects of Zika on infants born to mothers infected in pregnancy, including organ damage and neurological disorders, by researchers at the University of Miami, which received $13.1 million in grants.
Researchers at Florida International University, which received about $2.1 million in grants, have been working to develop new diagnostic tests and therapies for Zika using nanotechnology, and novel approaches for designing mosquito repellent.
At Florida State University, which received $2.1 million in grants, researchers have been working on targeted drug treatments for Zika, while at the University of Florida, which received about $2.9 million in grants, scientists have worked on identifying antiviral therapies using existing drugs.
Though Zika sparked a public health crisis in Florida in 2016, with nearly 1,500 infections statewide, including 300 local cases spread by mosquitoes, the virus has waned this year. For 2017, the health department has reported a total of 179 Zika infections, including 32 cases where epidemiologists could not determine the source of infection, but most cases are contracted by people who traveled to countries where the illness is still being transmitted.
WHEN: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9
WHERE: Florida Atlantic University Stadium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton