On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus to be a global health crisis, which only accelerated the panic surrounding the mosquito-borne disease. Then word dropped that the virus has developed in the U.S., but — in a terrifying twist — is now a sexually transmitted disease. The STD component of this crisis is compounded by knowing only 1 in 5 adults will show symptoms, so (like many STDs) someone doesn’t have to show symptoms to pass it along.
So, U.S. citizens prepared to buckle in for a long, muggy summer full of mosquito hysteria, as global cases are projected to hit 4 million this year. However, there may be a shining light within the presumed darkness. A biotech company believes it has a vaccine to cure the virus, which not only causes adult flu-like symptoms, but can cause microcephaly in babies. Bharat Biotech claimed the good news, but is this premature?
Bharat Biotech is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the world and began work on the Zika virus a year ago, Krishna Ella, CMD Bharat Biotech, said here. “We believe we have an early mover advantage in developing the Zikavac and we are probably the first in the world to file for global patent for Zika vaccine candidates.”
“We have two candidate vaccines in development. One of them is an inactivated vaccine that has reached the stage of pre-clinical testing in animals,” Ella said.
Yes, this projection could turn into nothing, but the race is on (spurred on by national leaders, including President Obama) to stop this virus in its tracks. After hitting 23 countries and officially arriving in the U.S., this can only be good news. Or it could be advertising in disguise for any biotech companies hoping to boost their media presence. Hopefully any optimism will pay off when it comes to the Zika virus.