If you bring up Zika today, you certainly don’t get the emotional discourse that used to occur when Zika was a big media fear mongering deal. Much like Ebola, Zika seems like ancient news, now. But it wasn’t always supposed to end this way. Zika was supposed to be the pharmaceutical industry’s great pandemic hope. They started vaccine productions as the media propped up fears that Zika would overtake the United States. People abandoned trips to Florida, some airlines even compensated potential travelers. The Olympics should have been a death trap.
Florida seems fine again. The mouse and duck are back to parading about enchanted, brick-lined streets. Beaches are speckled with swim trunks and bikinis again. And the sun is shining.
This should seem like a good thing, right? Well, not everyone agrees, apparently, that Zika being all but eliminated is a good thing. Pharmaceutical companies and / or Government agencies are complaining that without enough Zika, they simply can’t complete their Zika vaccines. They essentially have no subjects to test.
“On one hand, you don’t want to see outbreaks of infection,” says Anthony Fauci to Reuters, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “But on the other hand, [without that testing] you might have to wait a long time to make sure that the vaccine works.”
The NIAID has no one to test the vaccine on. This begs the obvious question, why would now need a vaccine for something that clearly doesn’t threaten humans enough to even yield a handful of worthy test subjects?
The uncertainty poses challenges for Zika vaccine development. A lull in the outbreak could cause significant delays in testing, pushing back the timetable for a commercially available product, Fauci says.
While researchers can use alternative methods to measure efficacy without large-scale testing, a decline in the circulation of the Zika virus could set progress back by years because the vaccine testing would be less reliable.
“If we don’t get a lot of infections this season in South America and Puerto Rico, it may take years to make sure the vaccine works,” Fauci says.
So a United States government agency openly admits it needs more cases in order to produce a vaccine. But if there are no cases, we don’t need a vaccine, one would think. This chicken or egg scenario, when it comes to vaccines, sure seems to be clearing itself up. I’d say we are learning a lot about “who came first,” the disease or the vaccine.
I don’t really understand how anyone could not find this rather frightening. Zika is not an issue, that’s clearly stated. So why the need for more Zika to produce a vaccine that isn’t needed? The common sense of the masses is sometimes rather disappointing, at best.