To combat the menace of the Zika disease, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) have also joined the league of pharmaceuticals developing vaccines for the virus. The virus that is similar to dengue as it too is mosquito-borne is spreading at an alarming rate and as the World Health Organization (WHO) has called it an International Health Emergency, global pharmaceuticals have jumped to action.
No Timeline Ascertained
Sharon Castillo, spokesperson for Pfizer said that the company was already evaluating its vaccines to see if they can find a cure to Zika. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co has also set up a team of investigators to create a vaccination as announced by the company on Wednesday after Sanofi stated on Tuesday that it would introduce a vaccination program soon
Johnson and Johnson Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels also stated that the company was trying to find a cure its existing vaccines. He said that the analysis was at a nascent stage and thus it was difficult to provide a timeline for coming up with a cure for the virus. Even Merck that was successful in developing an Ebola vaccination confirmed taking action.
Zika Linked To Birth Defects
A relation had been established between Zika and birth defects in newborn babies. According to WHO, the virus had increased chances of microcephaly defect in newborns which led to a very tiny head with future development problems.
The health experts are raising concerns on vaccination even as pharmaceuticals step up efforts as they fear the virus to be spreading like fire globally. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that a vaccine was at least not possible to cure Zika in 2016 and the company could takes years to develop a treatment.
Dengue is also caused by a mosquito with a similar breed and the vaccine developed by Sanofi was out after two decades and was quite expensive at $1.65 billion. The first case of Zika came to light in Texas, U.S. on Tuesday and public health experts opine that a cure would take time to be out.