A Zika vaccination is likely in your future, and in the futures of your children and grandchildren. Once the virus reaches the US, it will become a permanent, low-level threat, like the West Nile virus, according to researchers at this week’s annual meeting of the Global Virus Network in Atlanta, per National Geographic.
The post suggests that a Zika shot will become as routine as the current vaccine for rubella. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases tells NBC News that small, local outbreaks are “very likely” in the US by summer and thus pressure to develop a vaccine is growing. A small vaccine trial is expected to begin next fall, with a working vaccine possible by early 2018 at best, reports MIT Technology Review.
Congress has yet to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funding for Zika work, and the funds are “absolutely essential,” says Fauci. As to why: “The number of travelers coming into the US with Zika is very high, the temperatures are permissive now for mosquito transmission, and populations of mosquitos are growing,” says a University of Texas virologist. “It only takes one infected person to arrive and be bitten and the transmission cycle takes off.”
He predicts the first vaccines will require multiple doses and will be given to women and girls reaching childbearing age to prevent birth defects. Antiviral drugs could be used in the meantime. “We have no information to believe there are any long-term consequences from infection to healthy adults or healthy children,” he says.