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Zika virus news, resources and funding for global health researchers

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes species mosquitoes. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental U.S. The CDC provides information on Zika for pregnant women, women trying to become pregnant, community health workers, policymakers and other key groups.

At NIH, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is working with its partners in government, academia, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to better understand Zika virus, the disease it causes, and ways to combat it. Vaccinations have begun in a multi-site clinical trial testing an experimental Zika vaccine developed by NIAID scientists. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH is studying how Zika virus infection affects reproductive health, pregnancy, and the developing fetus. NIH is also funding many research projects to study Zika virus.

Fogarty has provided training for researchers in countries impacted by Zika, and has supported mathematical modeling to inform policymakers. While studying Chagas disease in Brazil, funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) through Fogarty provided scientists with training in field epidemiology, neuroimaging techniques and other research skills, which they are now leveraging to study and combat Zika. Researchers supported in part by Fogarty had anticipated the international spread of Zika virus from Brazil due to the August 2016 summer Olympic Games.

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