Monday, November 21, 2016

Researchers Race for a Zika Vaccine

As the Zika virus continues to alarm the public, government organizations from around the world race to create a vaccine. Although it is primarily in South America, the virus is quickly spreading to other regions of America. With no treatment available, it is unknown how far it could spread. Scientists are trying a number of methods to create an effective vaccine. One innovative method is DNA splicing, a method that has potential to be game-changing but has never been approved for use in humans. The most reliable method is injecting a dead virus into the body and allowing it to build immunity. The only problem with this method is that is takes time. Generally, vaccines take about a decade to make, but some researchers say one could be available as soon as 2018. We can only hope that the outbreak is brought under control in the meantime. In September, President Obama approved a package which would allocate $400 million towards vaccine research so hopefully significant progress is made soon.

The Zika virus has spread quickly across the world. It has led to serious birth defects in infected fetuses. It is spread predominantly by mosquitoes, but can also be passed from person to person through sexual intercourse and pregnancy. The virus is in mostly warm-weather places, but it has reached the United States. Several cases have been reported in Florida. Our nation needs to be prepared to stop the virus if it reaches the rest of the country. A vaccine must be made as soon as possible.

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