The Zika virus threat is the newest health threat that the world is facing. The World Health Organisation has declared a worldwide health emergency over the Zika virus. The virus was identified in 1947 in Uganda, where it was originally limited to rhesus monkeys; the disease then got transmitted via mosquito, tick or flea bites. Currently the scare is big, because the Zika virus causes microcephaly among infants, a condition, in which babies are born with shrunken heads.
In Brazil, the number of microcephaly is said to have surged from an annual average of 150 cases to nearly 5,000 cases since October 2015. But the question is how genuine is the Zika threat? Is it really as big a health emergency as the reports are making it to be, or is there a diabolic profiteering behind the apparent threat of this deadly disease?
Certain environmentalists and health experts believe that the Zika threat is exaggerated by certain organisations to make huge profits out of it: the idea is simple, the virus and the disease are announced as the next big epidemic that could wipe out half of the human race. To be safe, people use specially-formulated insecticides or pesticides to control the population of mosquitoes. In case a vaccine is released in the market, people would queue up to get a shot of safety.
India, which still has to put a big fight against mosquito-related epidemics, such as malaria and dengue, has been put on alert too. Health experts fear the virus might be brought back by someone who had travelled to a Zika-infested nation.
Bharat Biotech, an Indian firm started working on two Zika vaccines in November 2014, apparently with the aid of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The company had earlier received $50 million as funds to carry a research and conduct trials of a malaria vaccine on people. It’s not hidden that the Bill and Melinda foundation had carried out unauthorised experiments on unsuspecting young tribal boys and girls India. The children were tested with HPV vaccines around the year 2009-10; the test came to light when girls had developed serious health issues. But we shall discuss about this diabolic experiment some other time.
Certain distrust rises on learning that the Gates Foundation has also financed the development of genetically-engineered (GE) mosquitoes, designed by a biotech company to beat dengue and Zika. Some believe that the outbreak of Zika in Brazil was caused due to the failure of this project. Right now, medicine giants Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Merck are all planning to develop a Zika vaccine.
As the world is still cowering in fear, biotech companies are getting into the rat race to release the first Zika vaccine in the market. Once such a vaccine is released, millions of people would rush to get a shot, notwithstanding the fact that the vaccine might not have been successfully tested on humans. Medicines released during public health emergencies are not accountable for health hazards in the US. In such a case, India, with so much less accountability in the health sector, can only pray for a miracle.