A Zika vaccine is being developed at warp speed, but will there be a market for it?
Monday, December 5, 2016
When top US health authorities convened in late January to brief President Barack Obama on the Zika outbreak in Latin America, the post-meeting scuttlebutt was that the president was eager to push development of a Zika vaccine.
The officials attending the meeting tried to convey an inconvenient reality: Real-world need and vaccine development speed are rarely in sync. Vaccines take years to produce, test, and license. The Zika virus, which had received scant study before 2016, was unlikely to prove to be an exception to that truth.
And yet a mere 10 months later, despite funding delays from a fractious pre-election Congress, three experimental Zika vaccines are already being tested in people; another four or five should start human trials between now and next fall. Larger Phase 2 trials for several candidate vaccines are planned for 2017; one will begin within the next couple of months.
- Health Care