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Update On Zika: WHO To Launch Strongest Zika Vaccine But After 2020;

By Cyril , Feb 09, 2017 02:39 AM EST
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MADISON, WI - JUNE 28: Gabrielle Barry, a research specialist at the AIDS Vaccine Research Labs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison tests body fluids from rhesus macaque monkeys infected with the Zika virus searching for evidence of the virus on June 28, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. Researchers at the University released a study today detailing how research at the facility has found the Zika virus persisted in the blood of pregnant monkeys for 30 to 70 days but only around 7 days in others. The study also found that monkeys previously infected with the virus were resistant to a second infection, which suggests the animals have a naturally occurring immunity. Health professionals in the United States are preparing for the possibility of an epidemic of Zika which can be transmitted by mosquitoes. (Photo : Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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.

            

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