Although the Zika virus is not causing the same amount of health issues as it did in 2016, medical professionals and public health officials are still determined to develop a vaccine. Developing a successful Zika vaccine will likely save numerous infants from developing devastating neurological problems, like microcephaly. It would be a mistake to assume that the Zika virus is gone for good, as mosquitoes are still carrying the virus. Luckily, the first human trials for testing a new Zika vaccine will begin soon. Many experts are predicting a significant influx in mosquito populations within the United States in the coming years. This future threat has the vaccine’s developers hoping for successful study results. Doctors involved with the Zika vaccine trials are already recruiting volunteers.
The clinical trials for the Zika vaccine are taking place at the Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, Texas. The study will have volunteers taking either a placebo or the recently developed Zika vaccine. All the volunteers must be in good health and between the ages of fifteen and thirty five. According to Dr. Patrick Noonan, director of interventional neuroradiology at the Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, the purpose of the clinical trial is to determine if the vaccine can successfully prevent disease caused by Zika infection. Dr. Noonan is confident that the vaccine will work to prevent Zika-induced disease. The vaccine causes patients to build up an immunity to the Zika virus. Most people may be hesitant to volunteer since building an immunity to Zika through repeated vaccinations is similar to having the disease itself. However, the doctors in charge of the study say that the vaccine cannot cause an individual to develop the Zika virus because the vaccine does not contain either live or inactivated forms of the Zika virus.
Doctors are hoping to enroll fifty study participants by the end of this year, and the study will last for ninety six weeks. Obviously, volunteers can ask any questions they want about the study and the doctors running the study will answer all questions honestly as required by law. Volunteers are also free to quit the study at any time and for any reason, but the doctors do not want to see that happen, as this vaccine could end up helping people all over the world.
Would you be willing to take part in the Zika vaccine trials as a volunteer? Would you be afraid of becoming infected with the virus even though the vaccine does not contain any trace of the Zika virus?