The London-based Wellcome Trust, in partnership with the Newton Fund and Medical Research Council, has announced grants totaling £3.2 million ($4.5 million) to the Zika Rapid Response Initiative for research related to the disease, which has been reported in fifty-two countries since 2007.
The funding will support twenty-six research projects related to transmission of the virus across several countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Cape Verde, Kenya, and Uganda. Launched by MRC in February, ZRRI originally committed £1 million ($1.4 million) for research through the UK's Global Challenges Research Fund, with applicants encouraged to work in conjunction with colleagues in Zika-affected countries.
"The speed at which Zika moved from being a relatively obscure tropical disease to a global health emergency has taken us all by surprise and illustrates just how vulnerable the world is to emerging infections," said Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar. "This research effort will begin to answer urgent questions about Zika, including establishing the links with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and will kick-start the development of better diagnostic tools and vaccines to protect those most at risk from infection."
For a complete list of funded projects, visit the MRC website.