BEACON TRANSCRIPT – As the disease induced by the Zika virus engulfs more countries, scientists are working around the clock in order to develop a working vaccine. According to Hawaii Biotech, a pharmaceutical research company, the Zika vaccine has the pre-clinical stage, and will be shortly made available.
Recently another major player has entered the competition of devising a vaccine that could help prevent other outbreaks of Zika. Doctor Elliot Parks, the Chief Executive of Hawaii Biotech, has announced that the company was successful in developing a serum that could potentially alleviate and prevent some of the symptoms associated with the Zika virus.
For those of you who don’t know about the disease, Zika is a mosquito-borne disease, very similar to Dengue Fever or to West Nile. While 80 percent of the patients infected with Zika are asymptomatic, the World Health Organization has reported that thousands of women from Brazil have given birth to infants suffering from a congenital condition called microcephaly (the head of the infant is smaller than his body).
Since the disease was first detected in 2015, the number of cases of patients coming down with Zika has skyrocketed. Moreover, it would seem that the disease was linked to several congenital malformations in Brazil and in other parts of the world.
For this reason, the World Health Organization has issued a general travel alert for 23 countries, including Brazil and El Salvador. On the subject of disease prevention, Brazil has requested the help of the army in order to contain newly-formed niduses. On the other hand, El Salvador’s health authorities have urged all fertile women to postpone their pregnancies until 2018.
It seems that there is still hope in treating the disease. The Zika vaccine has entered the pre-clinical stages, and will soon be tested on human patients. According to WHO, if the disease continues to spread at this rate, approximately 4 million US citizens will become infected.
Parks, a former member of Johnson & Johnson declared that even if the vaccine enters the clinical stage, an event which could take several years, it will require a major player in order to fabricate enough doses of the vaccine.
Apart from the Hawaii-based pharmaceutical company, other players have joined the fight against Zika. Earlier this week, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Has announced that it will pool its resources in order to analyze the possibility of developing a working vaccine. To his end, the company brought in Gary Kobinger, the medical researcher who managed to develop a working vaccine against Ebola.
In conclusion, even though the Zika vaccine is capable of treating the symptoms of Zika, it will take a couple of years before it enters the clinical stage. Moreover, more time will pass before the vaccine becomes available worldwide.