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Mosquito-borne Diseases February 5, 2019

Zika Virus vaccine might be on its way

An increase in the widespread of Zika Virus has been steered with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a lesser-known sickness of the nervous system. In a disease as such, a human’s own immune system attacks and damages his/her nerve cells, further resulting in the weakness of muscles, and in some cases lead to paralysis.


A number of countries that have been a victim of Zika outbreaks have also outlined a rise in the number of people suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome. However, the link between the two is yet to be unfolded.


The virus was initially detected in Monkeys in the year 1947, and in humans in the year 1952. The first large outbreak of the virus was reported in the year 2007 in the Island of Yap. Even today, there are a few countries that are suffering from an outbreak of Zika virus.


How does it spread:

Zika virus is more often than not spread across by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito (same species that causes Dengue). Zika can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the fetus. The infection also has the potential to cause birth defects. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the virus and its conjectured link to defects in childbirth as a global health emergency.


The sad news is, scientists had no vaccinations for Zika for all these years. As scientists across the globe were in search for a vaccine to thrive against this virus, the Bharat Biotech International Limited in Hyderabad has claimed the patent to Zika Vaccine; making India the first country that claimed to have invented world’s first vaccine that will combat the virus.


Except for infected Aedes mosquito, reports from Texas, USA suggest the virus is also transmitted through sex.


“On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,” quoted Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech Ltd.


With the permissions of the officials, live Zika virus was imported into the country for research and as on this day, the company has originated 2 vaccines as a protection against it. Albeit, testing them on animals and humans is anticipated to be a long haul. With the support of Indian government and Indian Council of Medical Research, the process will be accelerated.


“We have just been informed about the Zika vaccine candidate that Bharat Biotech has. We will examine it from the scientific point of view and see the feasibility of taking it forward. It is a good example of a ‘Make in India’ product,” spoke Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, paediatrician and Director General, ICMR.


Dr. Ella of Bharat Biotech International Limited said the Hyderabad company has the potential of making one million doses of vaccinations in a span of 4 months. He has also tried to obtain Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direct intervention to make sure of the vaccine’s seamless development and a fast-track delivery.


“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,” said, Dr. Krishna Ella.


Zika Virus Symptoms:

Symptoms are not severe and might not last for more than a week. However, some of the common symptoms of Zika fever are rashes, pain in the joints and redness of eyes. Normally, patients suffer through fatigue, chills, loss of appetite and night sweats too. One can also have symptoms like headaches and vomiting.


Treatment and Cure:

There is no specific treatment for Zika virus. However, the focus in such cases is on relieving the symptoms, an ample amount of rest to the body and rehydration.


For other mosquito-borne diseases like Chikungunya, Malaria and Dengue a wide range of Goodknight products spanning across categories assure protection to you and your family.

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