RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK -- Collegiate researchers, federal officials and U.S. Representative David Price (D-4th District) gathered Tuesday to talk Zika Virus.

RTI International held a roundtable discussion to talk about the state's role in Zika research, prevention and response.

"It's a dread disease and one that we need to understand better," says Price.

The Zika virus is spread through certain types of mosquitoes. It has been linked to birth defects such as babies being born with abnormally small heads. Researchers say they're working to find a vaccine. They also said the virus can be spread through sexual transmission.

"So there is some exciting potential vaccine candidates that are going to go into phase one trials done by the NIH. We are hoping to support those trials potentially here in North Carolina," says Sallie Pelmar with the Duke University School of Medicine.

Price says he's pushing Congress to fund more Zika research, saying talks of doing so have stalled.

"And we need to get the funding predictable and get these researchers the back-up that they need."

North Carolina has received federal grants to further study mosquitoes, but state health officials are hoping for more.

"We've just received $400,000 from the federal government that will activate in July that will be pushed out to all 100 counties to help with education," says Randall Williams with NC DHHS.

For more on the Zika virus, visit here.