Zika Update

Testing a new vaccine; Cuba’s aggressive Zika-control tactics pay off 

Nov 9, 2016
Ben Andrew Henry

CDC

Researchers have begun testing a new Zika vaccine in human volunteers in the first of five trials that the candidate vaccine will need to pass to be widely implemented, the National Institutes of Health announced Monday (November 7). The Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) vaccine contains whole viruses that are intact but unable to replicate.

“We urgently need a safe and effective vaccine to protect people from Zika virus infection as the virus continues to spread,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci in the statment. The trial is being conducted at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Meanwhile, health officials in the U.S. are noting that Cuba’s aggressive measures to halt the virus’s spread in the country seem to be working. Treatment and containment procedures orchestrated by the island’s government-run hospitals have been swift and coordinated, STAT News reported.

“The great difference between Cuba and the rest of Latin America as well as the U.S. is that Cuba tried to anticipate the arrival of the virus to mitigate the impact,” Carlos Espinal Tejada, a tropical disease expert at Florida International University told STAT. “In Miami and in places in Latin America, they waited until they had cases and then mobilized,” Espinal Tejada said. “In Cuba, it’s the opposite. When they see a virus about to arrive, they mobilize.”