Ebola and Zika: Cautionary tales

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Science  09 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6304, pp. 1073
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai9078

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The emergence of Zika in the Americas is a stark reminder of how quickly public health challenges of infectious diseases can change. The need for a safe and effective vaccine is immediate. Yet, like the Ebola epidemic 2 years ago, we find ourselves without a vaccine to combat this latest threat. When surveillance points to a possible emergence of a new infectious disease of potential public health importance, we need procedural and funding mechanisms that can quickly identify candidate vaccines and drive research and development toward licensure and production. Even if such a vaccine is not yet licensed, having it ready for immediate large trials when a regional crisis occurs will be a major advantage over our current reactive system.