Old allies and frequent political enemies have made an alliance along with the World Health Organization to speed up the testing of a promising vaccine for the Zika virus. The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, the United States Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a host of researchers from around the world have collaborated on the best approach to produce a vaccine for the Zika virus.
Sanofi researchers along with colleagues in Brazil have developed a vaccine that works of the nearest relative to the Zika virus called Dengue fever. The new vaccine was developed by the U. S. Army. Clinical trials of the single injection vaccine are scheduled to begin in October 2016. The vaccine has proven safe and reliable in animal studies.
The vaccine may indeed be just what the “Doctor” ordered but several safety concerns still exist for humans. The ability to produce sufficient vaccine to inoculate potentially two billion people in Africa, Asia, and the Americas is a major reason the production capacity and expertise of Sanofi has been called on for development
The Zika virus is usually short lived in men and women. The majority of people infected have symptoms resembling a slight cold. The persistence of the virus is the problem. Recent studies have indicated that the transmission of the Zika virus through sexual contact is a much more prevalent problem than previously thought.
Women who get Zika have the lifelong potential for having children with microcephaly and other brain problems. Recent study has also shown that the virus can produce long-term mental problems in adults. The mental disturbances may not be seen for months.
The cooperative effort between the world’s disease fighters has shortened the vaccine development time from 20 years to potentially one year.