It would seem that the pharmaceutical industry was preparing for the Zika virus almost a year ago as two vaccines have reportedly been developed already in India.
Bharat Biotech International in Hyderabad, India was the first company to file a patent for a Zika vaccine and they are about to start pre-clinical testing.
“On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,” managing director Krishna Ella said in an interview.
The company say that two candidate vaccines were created following research that began nine months ago and if trials are successful a vaccine could become available to the public in as little as four months.
RT reports: They will now be tested in animal and human trials. If those trials are successful, a vaccine could become available to the public in around four months. The best case scenario is that the biotech firm could make one million doses in that time, according to Ella.
Research into the vaccines began after the biotech firm legally imported a live Zika virus into the country last year. Ella has sought direct intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi since then, urging for the vaccines to be fast-tracked through clinical trials.
“The prime minister should take up this project as it helps communities like Brazil and Colombia where we can do vaccine diplomacy. We are a part of the BRICS group and we have to help them. We would love to help. We want global public health to benefit,” he said.
Declared a “global health emergency” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, the Zika virus has been linked to thousands of cases of the birth defect microcephaly, which results in babies being born with underdeveloped heads and brains.
Meanwhile, Sanofi SA, a pharmaceutical giant based in France, said they are about to start their own research by using their newly-approved dengue vaccine as a basis of creating one for the Zika virus.