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Sanofi Abandons R&D for Zika Vaccine, Cites Reduced Funding from BARDA

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Published on : Sep 11, 2017

Sanofi, a highly reputed name in the pharmaceutical industry that hails from France, has cited reduced funding from the U.S. authorities as it decides to resign the research and development of a vaccine against Zika. The reason why the U.S. BARDA (Biomedical Research and Development Authority) has cut down on the funding is because they feel that we are past the epitome of the epidemic called Zika.

Back in 2016, the US BARDA had committed US$43.2 million in funding to Sanofi Pasteur to develop a viable vaccine against Zika. But last month, the authority decided against the original commitment as there has been a steep decline in the number of new cases of Zika in the United States as well as in the World, so far this year.

Declining Zika Epidemic Prompting Relaxed Research

An official statement from Sanofi said that the company does not intend to continue the development of Zika vaccine as the moment, as the development is proving to be much more costly and time consuming than originally foreseen. It must be noted that in November 2016, the WHO (World Health Organization) had withdrawn the ‘global emergency’ status from Zika virus, which has been previously linked to causing brain abnormalities in newborns. As per the WHO while several Zika vaccines are being researched in the present scenario, none is expected to be available for women of childbearing age by 2020.

As per the statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 231 symptomatic Zika virus disease cases were detected in the U.S. as of September 6, 2017, with all but two of them were returning travelers from affected areas. Two of them acquired via sexual transmission.