The World Health Organisation(WHO) on Wednesday revealed a concrete $56 million plan to battle Zika Virus. It will assess fast-tracking of vaccines, diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads.
The plan targets to eradicate the mosquito-borne virus which has engulfed 39 countries worldwide, including 34 in the Americas.
“Possible links with neurological complications and birth malformations have rapidly changed the risk profile for Zika from a mild threat to one of very serious proportions,” WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in the WHO Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan issued in Geneva, as aper a report by Reuters.
The fund is expected to be backed by member states and other donors. A new emergency contingency fund of $2 million will push the initial operations.
Margaret Chan will visit Brazil from Feb 22-24 to analyse the measures backed by WHO. During the visit, Chan will meet the health minister.
After the Zika outbreak took its giant form, WHO declared worldwide public health emergency, recording Zika’s detrimental effects among South American countries, especially in women. The virus is suspected to be associated with microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes paralysis.
Brazil is the worst affected country and has been analysing the possible links between Zika and microcephaly – a medical condition believed to cause small shaped head in newborns. More than 4000 cases have been reported so far with 460 confirmed cases but the link between microcephaly and Zika is yet to be confirmed.
As per the existing evidences, the risk of sexual transmission through urine and semen could most likely trigger the cases, noted WHO.
“There is currently very little evidence of mother-to-child transmission; however, intra-uterine infections seem to be associated with subsequent neurological conditions in the child.” said WHO in a report by Yahoo News.
Research strategies would be required to unlock the risk of sexual transmission, whether body fluids, potential sexual transmission, and mother-to-child transmission have links with Zika, said WHO.