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Prince William leaders grant $50,000 to find Zika cure

From Prince William County Economic Development: 

“The Prince William Board of County Supervisors announced that it has authorized a $50,000 public-private performance agreement with Caerus Discovery, LLC, to work with George Mason University, the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to discover an antibody for the Zika virus.

Caerus Discovery, LLC, a biotechnology company newly located at the Prince William Science Accelerator, will use its proprietary elements to identify and develop a new antibody to fight the Zika virus. The work will be performed at the George Mason University Biomedical Research Laboratory (BRL), located on George Mason University’s (Mason’s) Science & Technology Campus, Innovation Park, Prince William County, Va. The data generated from this work will also be used by Caerus Discovery, LLC to seek continued funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF), angel, venture or other private investors, to further advance this important research.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors authorized an agreement between Caerus Discovery, LLC and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Prince William County and assigned a $50,000 grant from the Prince William County Economic Development Opportunity Fund (EDOF). The grant will assist the company in the purchase of materials, contractual services, labor costs and licensing fees used in the discovery of a new antibody for the Zika virus. In turn, Caerus Discovery, LLC will invest $200,000 through in-kind services and labor.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus and associated consequences remain a significant public health challenge requiring intense action, but they no longer represent a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. However, WHO reports the global risk assessment of the Zika virus has not changed and continues to spread geographically to areas where mosquitoes are present that can transmit the virus.

Further, the rise in the spread of the Zika virus in Brazil has been accompanied by an unprecedented rise in the number of children being born with unusually small heads – identified as microcephaly. In addition, several countries, including Brazil, report a steep increase in Guillain-Barré Syndrome – a neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death. Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.”

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