Zika: Cart before the horse

(Note: We don’t know whether the Zika virus actually causes microcephaly. There is lots of anecdotal speculation. At best, it’s an early theory, based on scant data and lots of political and public pressure. Plus, there has been no serious discussion about what other factors might be behind the microcephaly epidemic in Brazil, such as pesticide (such as Paraquat) and herbicide (specifically Agent Orange) poisoning, Tdap vaccine mandated for all pregnant Brazilian women… )

Media headlines:

“Race for Zika vaccine gathers momentum as virus spreads” — Reuters

“The world needs a Zika vaccine. Getting one will take years.” — STAT

“Zika virus: US scientists say vaccine ’10 years away'” — BBC

“US official sees Zika vaccine trials starting by end of 2016” — The Jerusalem Post

“Pres. Obama Pushing for Development of Zika Virus Vaccine” — Eurweb

“Zika vaccine could be ready by OCTOBER: Researchers claim experimental vaccine is ‘easy to produce’ and could be given go-ahead in public health emergency” — Daily Mail

“Researchers scramble to fight ‘brand new’ Zika virus” — Yahoo News

“NIH accelerating research on Zika vaccines” — AAP News

“Scientists ‘testing two potential Zika vaccines'” — ITV News

“Zika epidemic on US doorstep spurs vaccine hunt” — CNBC

“Inovio Pharmaceuticals Ahead of GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi in Zika Vaccine Race” — Bidness ETC

“Inovio starts recruiting for first MERS vaccine test in humans” — Proactive Investors USA & Canada

“Zika virus spreads to biotech stocks” — MarketWatch

Within less than two months, the story about the microcephaly cases in Brazil has been transformed into one about the threat of the Zika virus and the development of a Zika vaccine. Yet, we still haven’t adequately answered the fundamental question: “Is Zika causing the microcephaly?”

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