(Fortune) Back in February, President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus epidemic. But it took Congress the better part of eight months to (mostly) follow through.
Lawmakers approved $1.1 billion in anti-Zika funds during a late-night session on Thursday as part of a broader stopgap spending measure to avert a government shutdown. The legislation includes a variety of other appropriations as well, including for flood relief in Louisiana.
The new money, which public health officials like National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Dr. Francis Collins had been demanding with increasing desperation as available funds wound down over the summer, will be used to pay for research into a Zika vaccine. It’ll also go toward efforts to minimize infections in the U.S. through aggressive mosquito-control tactics. In women, this will also reduce risk for deadly birth defects linked to the virus.
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