Zika virus cure still a discovery priority

Last summer, the Zika virus outbreak triggered a worldwide health alert. Today, pathogen is a discovery priority as there is still no treatment to combat the disease

Even though the initial hysteria has quietened, the Zika virus is still impacting the public. With reports of babies being born in Brazil’s favelas with microcephaly and sightings of infected mosquitos in California, US and Scotland.  The virus has been linked to fetal microencephaly and adult Guillain-Barre Syndrome.


The rapid spread of the virus and potential entrance into unaffected locations inspired pharmaceutical companies to search for a cure. However, vaccine development is in its infancy with most at preclinical trial stage.

A team of researchers and Drew Weissman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania  discovered that one dose of their mRNA Zika vaccine candidate could safeguard mice for up to five months. Although, further tests are required to identify efficacy at multiple doses.

The global infectious disease diagnostics market will grow to $4.84bn in 2018, according to Visiongain forecasts. The market intelligence firm notes that the lack of point-of-care tests has complicated the task of tracking and treating the disease.   It predicts the global human vaccines market will grow at a CAGR of 9.3% from 2014 to 2020.

Significant social consequences from the Zika virus could lay ahead with countries experiencing or at risk of active transmission relying heavily on tourism for income. Last year’s virus outbreak spread across Central and South America after making its way across the Pacific Ocean over the last 20 years.

The Zika virus threatened attendance to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. However, visitors were, in fact, not at critical risk of infection as the epidemic was in decline when the games were in progress.

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