Close  
  • share this

Research begins into possibility of a vaccine for Zika virus

/ 11:01 AM January 27, 2016
APTOPIX Brazil Zika Virus

A health worker stands in the Sambadrome as he sprays insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Inspectors begin to spray insecticide around Sambadrome, the outdoor grounds where thousands of dancers and musicians will parade during the city’s Feb. 5-10 Carnival celebrations. Brazil’s health minister says the country will mobilize some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus linked to birth defects. AP

WASHINGTON — The US government is beginning research into a possible vaccine for the mosquito-borne Zika virus that is suspected of causing an unusual birth defect as it spreads in Latin America.

Don’t expect protection anytime soon — vaccine development typically takes years.

ADVERTISEMENT

READ: Brazil trying to develop vaccine against Zika virus

“This is not going to be overnight,” Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview Tuesday.

FEATURED STORIES

But there are vaccines in various stages of development for other viruses in the same family — dengue, West Nile and chikungunya — that offer a pattern for creating something similar against Zika, said Fauci, who directs NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

NIH researchers have begun some initial work, and the agency also plans to boost funding to some Brazilian scientists to accelerate Zika-related research, he said.

READ: What to know about the tropical Zika virus in Latin America

The Zika virus, first discovered decades ago in Africa, was long thought to be more of a nuisance illness, with symptoms generally much milder than its cousin dengue. But amid a large Zika outbreak in Brazil, researchers began reporting an increase in a rare birth defect named microcephaly — babies born with abnormally small heads. While scientists try to prove if Zika is the cause, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to reconsider travel to Brazil and 21 other countries and territories with outbreaks.

If a Zika vaccine eventually were developed, it’s not clear how widely it would be used.

READ: UN: Zika virus link to babies’ small heads ‘extremely worrisome’

RELATED VIDEO

ADVERTISEMENT

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: babies, Birth defect, Latin America, mosquito, vaccine, Virus, Zika
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.