The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that $56 million is needed to combat the Zika virus through June, including fast-tracking vaccines and diagnostics.

The funds, including $25 million for the WHO itself, would also be used to control the mosquito-borne virus that has now spread to 39 countries and has been linked to birth defects in Brazil, as well as research studies.

"Research studies are needed in order to assess: 1) presence of the Zika virus in semen and other body fluids, including pregnancy-related fluids; and 2) potential sexual transmission, and mother-to-child transmission," said the WHO Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan issued in Geneva.

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