U.S. Launches ‘Full-court Press’ for a Zika Vaccine

Fauci said the researchers he oversees will be getting DNA samples for the Zika virus soon if they don’t already have them. The NIH has been focused for some time on developing vaccines for mosquito-borne viruses that are similar to Zika, like the chikungunya, dengue and West Nile viruses.

“When you are developing diagnostics or vaccines or even interventions for [viruses] that are similar, you can translate the technologies that you’ve developed to hasten the end game goal of what you want for a virus like Zika,” Fauci said.

The Zika skeeters (Aedes family) can and do live in Oklahoma. I’m not terribly worried about it though, because we live very far away from other humans out here at Post Oak Exsilium, and as far as I know humans are the only ones who get Zika. I’m more concerned with West Nile virus, which birds get, and then mosquitoes bite them. (But both of them pale compared to tick-borne disease. Ehrlychiosis killed our dog, right here in our front yard, and I have been on high alert for ticks ever since.)

There’s dengue, and chikungunya, and yellow fever too. Goodness, it never stops! I don’t know much about these diseases though. If you catch it once, can you catch it again, as badly? Does it linger inside and strike later, like chicken pox, or, more rarely, wild measles? If it’s a once-and-done deal, then it’s a sudden problem because none of the people have ever been exposed, I bet. In Africa, girls have caught it as children long before they reach childbearing age, so no birth defect spike. But in Brazil, they just got the virus with the World Cup a couple years ago. Virgin population.

I’ll probably have more armchair virologist posts soon. I find stuff like this fascinating. But now it’s time to get ready to party!


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