Zika Virus news: Vaccines for the virus tested in India

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After nine months of research, Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech International has claimed to have vaccines for Zika Virus  an epidemic that broke out in Brazil last year.

The vaccines will be released for the global market after it successfully passes animal and human trials. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for fast-tracked tests upon knowing that Bharat Biotech has obtained an imported live Zika virus nine months ago. The Zika vaccine candidate is set for final examinations and will be ready for public use after four months with one million doses created during the process.

“On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,” Bharat Biotech managing director Krishna Ella told International Business Times UK. “Considering the prime target groups for vaccination, safety was an important factor. The formulated inactivated vaccine is expected to elicit a strong antibody response as we see humoral immunity offering a primary defense against Zika infection.”

According to the World Health Organization, Zika virus is a disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and has been known to have plagued Africa, North America, South America, Asia, and the Pacific. Just like dengue, symptoms of this disease include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, malaise, joint and muscle pain, and headache.

WHO declared Zika Virus as a global health emergency on Feb. 1 after the virus outbreak in 20 South American countries. Many cases claimed that the virus could be sexually transmitted and it has also been linked to thousands of birth defects.

“I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014 constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” said WHO Director General Margaret Chan.

Microcephaly is a case where babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains.