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Health & Wellness

UB researcher looks at the long road to a Zika vaccine

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While public researchers scramble to deal with the threat of the Zika virus, one local expert believes finding a vaccine will take a long time.

"Safety is a foremost consideration," said UB's Dr. Thomas Russo, professor of medicine working in microbiology and immunology.

Russo believes it might be a year before scientists know the genetic structure of Zika or potentially several variants so that an actual vaccine can be worked on. He says that might change as doctors get a better handle on the public health effects and where the mosquitoes which carry the virus are active.

"If it turns out that the only health concern is primarily in pregnant women and if we're going to consider them the target population, then the rigor (of testing) has to be exponentially even greater."

Russo says it might be a year before scientists know the genetic structure of Zika or potentially several variants so that an actual vaccine can be worked on. He says that might change as doctors get a better handle on the public health effects and where the mosquitoes which carry the virus are active.