In less than a year, 30 vaccines are in development to help fight the Zika virus; and two of them are already on the human trial phase. Nonetheless, it will take at least a few years until one of them becomes viable to stop the virus from spreading.
Astonishingly, only two Pharma giants are pitching in into the fight: GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur. The rest are reluctant to join the cause. Why is that? As Helen Branswell debates, there are a variety of reasons for this.
First, there is a question of economics: since developing these vaccines take so much time, the threat has gone when they are completely viable for use; making those investments without little or no financial return objectionable.
Second, the unpredictability of the virus: they do not know much time the virus will last, or if it will spread to other parts of the world. This alone makes it even more difficult to incentivize Big Pharma to pour in a lot of money into a cause that might not even be an epidemic.
This raises the question: should Big Pharma help combat the Zika virus despite of its economic implications?
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