Vaccine for Zika virus being developed even as Its test on pregnant women remains a concern
Zika virus vaccine is being developed these days. However, the vaccine being developed to fight the virus has created an unusual controversy. The Zika vaccine will be tested over pregnant women, and this certainly is a cause of concern as such trials were never conducted on pregnant women.
1 Fears that could be Real
Concerns on Zika vaccine came into prominence as World Health Organization declared that zika virus causes birth defects in children and they could suffer from brain damage.
The threat could be real as the disease has spread its hold in over 20 countries in Central and South America. Zika vaccine has to be developed without fail as fear is gaining ground that over 4 million people could be affected by end of 2016.
The fear is so real that pregnant women have been advised not to travel in over two dozen countries in South and Central America.
2 Deadly Virus at work
Zika virus has been thought to be so dangerous that it is believed that it is likely to result in development of small head and can result in brain damage in babies. Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil has vowed to fight the spread of the Zika virus and said that they will be working in tandem with United States to develop a vaccine to fight the disease.
3 Medico Legal Implications
Mike Turner, the Head of immune-biology at Well come Trust is of the view that testing the Zika vaccine on pregnant women is an ethical nightmare as many people infected with Zika virus do not show any symptoms of the disease.
4 The future ahead
The hope that a vaccine could be developed soon to fight this disease is real as much effort is being put in the same now. Infact, US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases now is working on developing the Zika vaccine. It’s Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci is very hopeful of finding a worthy solution soon and is wary of the assumption that the solution is decades away.
The first phase of development of this vaccine will judge if the development of second phase will take shape. However, Dr. Anthony expressed his satisfaction on the issue of protection of pregnant women from the perils of Zika virus. The safe way out to test the vaccine would be to try it on non pregnant ladies in the first place and only if it is found that the vaccine is safe enough for them, the same could be tested on pregnant women.
The concept behind the development of vaccine is also clear as women have to be protected before they bear a child. Therefore testing the same on non pregnant women will seem more logical.
The role of big pharmaceutical companies in promoting this vaccine is also very crucial. They need to accept the vaccine with open arms and should be ready to market it throughout the world.
One such previous experience with vaccine for West Nile disease has not been so encouraging. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had developed a drug on West Nile but since leading pharmaceutical companies did not take much interest in its marketing, all efforts went in vain.
The future efforts so should be in a direction where the role of leading pharmaceutical companies is clearly defined and research agencies should also be working on a mechanism where they can handle the distribution network on their own if leading pharmaceutical companies do not come forward.
Another viable solution could be involvement of midsized medicine companies in development of Zika vaccine so that the dependence on big companies is minimized. In all this commotion, the big question of testing the vaccine on pregnant women still remains a concern even as the disease is spreading its tentacles with impunity.