In a recent article released by NBC News on October 4th, 2016, pharmaceutical companies have deemed the Zika vaccine to be an economically viable investment due to the vaccine's public health implications, especially for residents of the United States and Europe who are willing to pay higher prices for such vaccine. Because Zika is the only sexually transmitted mosquito borne illness, public health officials state that the fear towards the disease is much higher than presented although the disease itself may often times be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. A vaccine is predicted to be released in two years.
Though two years may be enough time for the Zika virus to subside in Latin American nations, many people in Latin America would be willing to receive the vaccine as a preventative measure, were the disease to re-emerge in the future. Those who travel often (business executives, diplomats, etc.) will be highly encouraged to receive the vaccine before traveling to areas infected with the virus. Joseph Kim, the chief executive of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, states that Zika-related markets may reach a level of more than $1 billion. Certain pharmaceutical companies envision the Zika vaccine to be similar to Gardasil in that the vaccine is administered to boys and girls before puberty.
The National Institutes of Health is also involved in vaccine production for a wide variety of infectious disease, Zika being one of them. The NIH had invested in a West Nile Virus vaccine, but the vaccine was not as popular due to the lack of alarm towards the disease. The NIH is currently investing in the Zika virus by launching their own project while also supporting pharmaceutical companies; however, the NIH has yet to invest solely to one pharmaceutical industry until efficacious results are presented.
Some pharmaceutical industries that are currently working on the Zika vaccine include Protein Sciences Corp, Sanofi in France, GSK, and Takeda in Japan.
Check out the article here: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/zika-virus-outbreak/zika-vaccine-could-actually-be-profitable-companies-say-n659276
~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)