The world finally has a Zika virus Vaccine – Made In India!
The World has its first Zika virus Vaccine. Yes! The killer pandemic disease reaching epic proportions in South America will soon see a cure thanks to Scientists in India.
Applying the same research which was used while producing effective vaccines for similar viruses’ like chikungunya and dengue, Indian Pharmaceutical Company Bharat Biotech has developed the world’s first Zika vaccine which is ready for clinical testing.The breakthrough follows the first ever diagnostic test for Zika developed by a German biotech firm. Bharat biotech has also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support the development and help in speeding up the trial procedures for worldwide medical benefit.
1 Zika, Now a Deadly Pandemic Virus Caused By Mosquitoes
Zika, the deadly vector borne disease surfaced in South America in 2015. It has now reached epic proportions. On the 1st of Feb, World health organization (WHO) declared Zika a Public health emergency on an international scale. This was the first declaration since the dreaded Ebola. The Zika virus till a few months back was raging in South America. It has reached alarming proportions spreading to 28 countries, a majority of them in South America and the Caribbean. Brazil is reeling under the worst outbreak of the disease where more than a million cases have been reported till date.
2 What Is Zika, Where Did It Originate from?
Zika is a vector borne disease. It is spread by the Aedis Aegypti Mosquito. Commonly known as the dreaded yellow fever mosquito, it is primarily responsible for the outbreak of Zika. Originating In Uganda, Zika spread across Polynesia reaching Mexico in 2015. Zika is currently causing havoc in South America where countries like Brazil are the worst affected. As a tropical disease similar to chikungunya and dengue, there’s no telling how soon Zika will spread its ugly tentacles to tropical countries in Asia. If that happens, the results could be disastrous.
3 What Are The Symptoms Of Zika? Can It Be Transmitted?
Zika is linked to microcephaly and the rare Paralysis condition known as Guillain–Barré syndrome. Microcephaly causes young babies to be born with extremely small heads. Regular symptoms of the Zika virus are infection, headaches, conjunctivitis, malaise rash and fever. The symptoms resemble those of chikungunya and dengue, both caused by vectors such as the mosquito.
Zika may not be 100% fatalistic but it does take its toll on human health. The biggest danger is posed to pregnant women because if they contract the virus, it could well pass it on to the fetus. Zika transmission is primarily through vector sources; however till 2016, 3 cases of sexual transmission have been reported.
4 How Did The Vaccine Develop? When Will It Be Available To the Public?
Bharat Biotech has long been monitoring the progress of Zika virus. After researching vaccines for chikungunya and dengue, scientists applied the same principles of study to Zika. Incidentally the Zika virus is caused by the same mosquito responsible for dengue. Bharat Biotech had formulated a Zika virus vaccine well before the current epidemic which goes to show the advanced stages of Indian research in tropical diseases. Bharat Biotech will now start clinical trials on the first ever candidate to receive the vaccine.
In order to expedite the process, Bharat Biotech is seeking assistance from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cut through red tape for speeding up the trial process. In normal cases, permission for clinical trials takes almost 6 months; in this case Bharat Biotech has requested the permission on grounds of ‘Vaccine diplomacy’. In a step ahead of its global counterparts, Bharat Biotech had already filed a global patent for vaccine candidates.
5 Indian Scientists Used Genetic Engineering to Develop the ZIka Vaccine
Since the South American epidemic, there was no known cure for Zika. In most cases it was being treated by anti-inflammatory drugs and paracetamol. Medical research fraternity worldwide felt a vaccine may be developed within two years. However Bharat Biotech has achieved a major milestone through its approach that involved genetic engineering in deactivation of the virus’s reproduction system simultaneously triggering a response in the body’s immunity.
While the outbreak of Zika has sparked a global vaccine race among medical pharmacy companies worldwide, it will be the Indian Company Bharat Biotech whose pioneering efforts will be acknowledged as the first developer of the Zika vaccine.