The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday responded to a letter led by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) urging the agency to add Zika virus to the FDA tropical disease priority review voucher (PRV) program.
In its response, the FDA opted to not add the virus to its voucher program.
By adding the virus to the program, Brooks argued, it would incentivize private industry to invest in the medial countermeasures needed to protect against and treat the virus.
Brooks joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in a meeting to discuss Zika virus with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, USAID, Homeland Security and the U.S. State Department.
“Each day, we continue to learn more about Zika, its transmission, and its connection to other diseases, disorders and birth defects in babies exposed in the womb,” Brooks said. “We need to take steps today to prevent this virus, and other biological threats like it, and incentivize the development of a vaccine or treatment for Zika virus. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to get Zika virus added to the FDA Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program and to look for other solutions that will help protect Americans, especially women and children, from the potential for devastating birth defects.”
The priority review voucher program was authorized by Congress in 2007 to incentivize the development of treatments for neglected tropical diseases.