Opinion Piece, Editorial Discuss Availability, Development Of Zika, Ebola Vaccines
New York Times: A Zika Vaccine, but for Whom?
Patrick Adams, freelance journalist, and Cameron Nutt, student at Harvard Medical School
“The race for a Zika vaccine, one of the most pressing priorities in global health, is at full throttle. More than a dozen companies and government institutions are working to unlock the secrets of the virus, and a vaccine could be available as early as 2018. But available to whom? If history is any guide, impoverished communities in Africa are likely to be the last in line. And this despite a mounting body of evidence that, contrary to the prevailing wisdom, poor families in Africa might bear the greatest burden of the disease. … The paradox is that while the development of a Zika vaccine relies heavily on knowledge acquired from Africa, Zika vaccines are unlikely to be prioritized for use there — largely because we have been content to accept flimsy assumptions as scientific facts. Like other diseases before it, the data on Zika seems to matter only when it helps those of us in rich countries protect ourselves. Yet it’s this double standard that allows outbreaks to become pandemics, and that imperils public health — in Africa and everywhere” (12/28).
Wall Street Journal: The Burial of Ebola
“…Last week researchers presented compelling evidence of the first, and 100 percent effective, Ebola vaccine. Writing in the journal The Lancet, an international consortium released the final results of an experiment in Guinea, which found that a drug called rVSV-Zebov triggers rapid Ebola immunity after a single dose. The vaccine is an achievement for science and even government, believe it or not. … Ebola is a complex and mutating pathogen, and no scientific triumph is ever final. But the public health bureaucracy demonstrated no such humility, and its overconfidence showed how unprepared the world is to respond to biological threats. Developing and deploying more vaccines like rVSV-Zebov may be the best defense” (12/26).