Some intriguing news has been reported that gives me hope that our bureaucrats are taking the public health threat related to the Zika virus seriously.
As you may recall, the last time I reported on the Zika epidemic, 4 Floridians had developed locally-acquired infections (probably from mosquito bites). Now, there are 16 cases and stores in the impacted area of Miami are closing due to the viral spread.
Cafes and art galleries in Miami’s Wynwood Art District would normally be bustling this week, even during some of the hottest days of the year, but with Zika virus spreading in the area, businesses like Wynwood Yard and Gallery 212 are keeping their doors shut.
There were 16 cases of mosquito-transmitted Zika reported in the mainland U.S. as of Friday, and health officials have traced most to a square-mile area north of downtown Miami. Empty streets there reminded Gallery 212 owner Michael Perez of when he had to temporarily close a store in New York in 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I’m just like living my life all over again, with this Zika thing,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s crazy, the streets are bare right now.”
Florida is not only an important beacon of tourism for this nation; it is a critical swing state in this election. Therefore, it should surprise nobody that the normally slow-moving Food and Drug Administration just approved the releasing of mutant Zika-killing mosquitoes in the Sunshine State.
On Friday, the FDA released a final environmental assessment of the trial, finding that it “will not have significant impacts on the environment.” The project, led by Oxitec, a biotech company that focuses on insect control, calls for the release of thousands of genetically engineered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The lab insects are bred so that over time they could kill off much of the local mosquito population by passing on a gene fatal to any offspring they have with wild females.
The fact that an administration spearheaded by progressives so quickly approved genetically modified organism use should be the first clue that the impact of Zika is of deep concern to our public health officials. A second clue to just how problematic Zika infection is may be seen in the fact that human trials of a vaccine have already begun.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has injected two human volunteers with an experimental DNA-based Zika vaccine, Director Anthony Fauci announced today, a month ahead of its projected schedule for vaccine development.
“If it’s a home run, we’ll know pretty quickly,” Fauci said, adding that if it is successful, phase 2 trials could begin as early as January.
To give you an idea of just how quickly the green light was given: A typical vaccine takes 10-15 years to jump through all the regulatory hurdles. The fact that we are only one year in and human trials are beginning means that our bureaucrats recognize the need for speed.
Meanwhile, our Olympic Team is now in the epicenter of Zika…Rio de Janeiro! It appears that Hope Solo, a member of the American soccer team, is ready for battle.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) July 22, 2016
Which is good, because one tweet clearly shows Zika getting out-of-hand.
— Artie Brennan (@KingRTluv) August 6, 2016
Though I am touched that the Legal Insurrection Zika icon is the official mascot!
— Bill Mayeroff (@bill_mayeroff) August 6, 2016
Here’s to hoping the vaccine development speeds ahead of the viral spread so Americans can grab the gold of good public health.DONATE
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