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US Researcher Says Zika Vaccine is Years Away
   2016-01-30 19:17:20    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guan Chao

An employee conducts fumigation to prevent the Zika virus, in the Carabayllo District, in the Lima Province, Peru, on Jan. 29, 2016. The Health Ministry of Peru held fumigation campaigns to prevent the spreading Zika virus, according to local press. [Photo: Xinhua]

A top US health official said Thursday that it could take years to find a vaccine to prevent the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The World Health Organization said the virus is spreading explosively through the Americas and may lead to as many as four million cases in the region.

Zika has been linked to a rise in cases of microcephaly in babies born to infected women in Brazil.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said the US government is working on two approaches toward a vaccine against Zika.

A Phase I clinical trial could begin later this year to test the safety and efficacy of a Zika vaccine in people, but Fauci cautioned that a finished product will take far longer.

"We prepare for the possibility of a major outbreak but in reality you have to say we believe, we don't know, we believe that it is unlikely that it would happen. I don't expect to see a widespread use of an approved, regulatory-approved vaccine for at least a few years."

Brazil experienced its first outbreak of Zika last year and has seen the number of microcephaly cases soar.

In the United States, a total of 31 cases of Zika have been documented since last year, all involving people who were infected while they were out of the country.

Although the Zika virus was first documented in 1947, it caused only sporadic and small outbreaks of illness until recently. Little is known about the virus that only causes symptoms in a small number of those it infects.



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