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Zika Vaccine Not Soon

2016-03-16

An article in the New York Times states that the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that a vaccine against Zika virus will probably take years to develop and will not be in time to help with the current epidemic.  Although many organizations are researching potential vaccines, the furthest along is six months from human trials and probably three years from widespread release.

Research has also shown that spraying insecticides against mosquitoes is ineffective at reducing the incidence of dengue fever, a closely related virus.  Nonetheless, spraying will continue as there is no other effective approach.  The use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to reduce the population is promising, but the numbers are still small and again there is likely to be several years delay before a large enough number of mosquitoes can be produced.

The most effective approach at present is to stay in air-conditioned residences and to wear mosquito repellent on exposed areas whenever outdoors.

At the current rate, Zika is expected to spread to the southern US within two years.

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