This letter to the editor was published in the Brownsville Herald on March 23, 2017

To the Editor:

Most of my family lives in El Salvador, where several types of harmful viruses are spread by mosquitoes. It is for this reason that I jumped at the chance to study the Zika virus in my laboratory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For the past year, I have been investigating the Zika virus and its effects on brain cells. Unfortunately, there are still many unanswered questions and we still do not have a drug or vaccine that can stop this virus from infecting people. Scientists need help to solve the Zika problem and we need assistance from our elected officials.

To find leaders willing to help in the fight against Zika, I visited Washington D.C. this past week to speak with members of Congress about the current state of Zika virus research. While many of these meetings went well, the most productive meeting by far was with Congressman Filemon Vela. Congressman Vela is passionate about defeating the Zika virus. He proposed several brilliant and practical solutions that can help scientists like myself do the research that needs to be done.

The people of Brownsville need to know that Congressman Vela is working tirelessly to fight the Zika virus. He has given the scientific community tremendous support and has vowed to do whatever he can to protect the people of Brownsville from this devastating virus that harms the most vulnerable people in our communities. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Vela as we unite to make Zika a thing of the past.

Michael F. Wells

Cambridge, MA