Collaboration, Innovation Critical To Zika Efforts, Preventing Future Pandemics
The Hill: We need a dose of global collaboration to fight Zika
Nima Farzan, chief executive officer of PaxVax, Inc. and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) delegate on the board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
“…Today, the Zika virus represents a new, potentially devastating pandemic throughout Latin America and the southern U.S. (for now). Fortunately, we’ve had warning to prepare for Zika. Unfortunately, the U.S. is still unprepared to effectively fight it. … While the Obama administration has redirected funding from other health priorities as a temporary measure, and it’s not clear whether any work on a vaccine has been delayed, what we do know is that without a plan and resources, the numbers [of cases] will only continue to grow across the country and around the world. The response to Ebola and the current stalemate in Congress over Zika funding help illustrate how critical global-scale planning, collaboration, and funding are to preventing epidemics. … [T]here is a misalignment between how industry works to develop vaccines and what public health needs are. The solution to this dilemma begins with collaboration. We’ve seen that when working alone, industry players face barriers to vaccine development. … It’s time to … find innovative ways to be prepared before outbreaks become pandemics” (10/30).