The emergence of a new neglected tropical disease (NTD) like Zika is always a potential opportunity for Laboratories to make money. We saw that previously with pandemic Flu H1N1, Ebola, MERS-CoV and now Zika virus.
Medias are publishing news on these new trends for producing quickly a new vaccine to prevent Zika. Based on the fears related to neurological symptoms, brain and head defects observed in Brazil leading to microcephaly risk for women of childbearing age, public opinion is claiming for new treatment and prevention of this disease, pushing Health authorities at national and international level to launch research and to sponsor studies on new vaccine.
Questions has been raised about the ownership of Zika virus; isn’t it “hilarious” to address such a question while trying to cope with disability of newborns which might be prevented by a vaccine? In other words, isn’t it shocking to consider that one big Trust,Company or Laboratory could get huge money on the Intellectual Property of one virus? Same old story than with HIV and antiviral drugs, Hepatitis C and more recently with Coronavirus.
- May be time to think and more interesting to decide to change the rules of the vaccine market by raising an International Public concern during this PHEIC by WHO?
- May be time to convene a UN general assembly for deciding if a virus, with possible Public Health impacts might be considered as a private property?
- May be time to implement a new business model based on R&D, partnerships Private-Public, sponsoring or crowd funding coordinated by UN/WHO?
- May be time to declare as a State of Emergency to produce drugs, vaccines or medical devices (PPE) at no profit but at low costs whenever a PHEIC is activated?
To produce a new vaccine is not an easy and fast process, especially when concerning young women of childbearing age or pregnant. There are Bio-Ethical issues to solve first and that will take a while prior to get authorization for testing phase IV of a vaccine. There is no chance to get a vaccine for this outbreak in Brazil, Latin America, Caribbean and that why it is important to make an official statement and to concentrate efforts on fighting the vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito (and other species which might contribute to spreading Zika virus: A.albopictus).
See WHO Statement on Zika R&D: