February 12, 2016 6:06 am
Updated: February 12, 2016 10:19 am

Possible Zika vaccines months away from broad trials: WHO

WATCH ABOVE: Experts warning of fast-moving Zika virus


GENEVA – The World Health Organization says possible Zika vaccines are at least 18 months away from large-scale trials.

WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation Marie-Paule Kieny says the U.N. health agency’s response is “proceeding very quickly” and 15 companies or groups have been identified as possible participants in the hunt for vaccines.

WATCH: WHO announces Zika trial vaccines are 18 months away

She told reporters in Geneva Friday that WHO also believes the link between the mosquito-borne virus and abnormally small heads in some newborn children is “more and more probable,” but said that determining whether there is a firm link isn’t expected for “weeks to a few months.” That would be an improved timetable from earlier WHO predictions for at least six months.

Kieny said that different types of possible vaccines – such as live or killed virus, or use of DNA vaccines – may lead to differences in timing on development, but developers “are all starting at a very basic level for the time being.”

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