The urge to come up with a vaccine against Zika virus has been elevated since the virus has been started to be linked to serious developmental problems in children are born to infected mothers. Although there is still no vaccine to protect against the virus, researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found an extremely promising candidate for such a drug. In line with this, the World Health Organization have estimated that a vaccine for women of childbearing age may not be available before 2020.
WHO On Zika Vaccine
In one of her statements reported by Fierce Pharma, a year after the official declaration of Zika being a public health emergency of international concern, director-general of WHO, Margaret Chan said that there has been a robust longer-term approach against the virus which has been officially affirmed. Consequently, the warning has also been lifted last November.
Moreover, since Inovio started the initiative to become the first pharmaceutical company to test a Zika vaccine in humans, several government agencies and Big Pharmas have either entered the clinic or embarked on the quest. As of the press time, Inovio's candidate, which has been named GLS-5700, is currently in phase 1, with a second round involving 160 participants underway in Puerto Rico. The National Institutes of Health have already enrolled 80 volunteers to test its candidate which has supposedly been set to take place last August but has planned to move into phase 2 in early 2017.
Zika Vaccine After 2020
Meanwhile, according to reports revealed by Medical Daily, vaccines are said to be costly in terms of time and finances just to develop and manufacture such. A significant number of experts have already revealed that Zika has been traditionally viewed as a minor virus causing mild illness. Because of that scientists did not prioritize creating a vaccine for it, but that has allegedly changed when it has shown its tendency to cause microcephaly, a developmental disorder linked to birth defects and neurological problems in children of infected mothers.
Furthermore, the current vaccine candidates that show potential against the virus are adenovirus-based. However, these types of vaccines also have the potential to be quickly neutralized by the body's immune system, rendering the vaccine useless. Ultimately, the World Health Organization has revealed that a vaccine for Zika virus likely won't be available for women of childbearing age before 2020 since they need further testing before they can be deemed effective and safe enough.