According to WHO, as of March 2, 67 companies and research institutions were already working on a number of products (31 on diagnostics, 18 on vaccines, 8 on therapeutics, 10 on vector control), which are at various stages of early development. No vaccine or therapeutic has yet been tested on humans.

A doctor examines a larva of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of Zika virus, in a laboratory of the Ministry of Health, in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Jan. 29, 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said it would convene an International Health Regulations emergency committee on the Zika virus to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.(Xinhua/Kent Gilbert) (jp) (sp)
A doctor examines a larva of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of Zika virus, in a laboratory of the Ministry of Health, in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Jan. 29, 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said it would convene an International Health Regulations emergency committee on the Zika virus to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.(Xinhua/Kent Gilbert) (jp) (sp)
“Vaccine development is still at an early stage and the most advanced candidates are still months away from entering early human clinical trials,” Marie- Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, told a press conference.

“It is therefore possible that vaccines may come too late for the current Latin American outbreak, but the development of a vaccine remains an imperative for regions likely to be affected by Zika in the foreseeable future, in particular vaccines suitable for pregnant women and women of child bearing age,” she noted.

However, Kieny said Zika diagnostic development is at a more advanced stage, and some tests have already obtained authorization in some countries.

Over 30 companies are working on or have developed potential diagnostic tests. There is general support for the development of a target product profile for a multiplex test that can diagnose dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses.

Vector control experts have clearly stated that as traditional interventions, such as insecticide spraying, have not had significant impact on dengue transmission the same might apply to Zika.

An emergency meeting of the WHO Vector Control Advisory Group next week will fine-tune evaluation methods and a target product profile for innovative techniques.

“While product development is at an earlier stage than that for Ebola,” concluded Kieny, “R&D methods and coordination among partners is much more advanced, largely thanks to the lessons learnt during the Ebola epidemic.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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