The U.N. and the U.S health officials said that Brazil is not sharing enough samples related to Zika virus, making it difficult for the researchers to determine whether the infection is linked with growing number of microcephaly in the fetus and newly born babies or not. Some of the health experts are of the view that Zika virus damages functioning of the brain of the fetus in then mother’s womb and stops its growth.
Lack of data from the Brazilian laboratory is causing problems for the scientists in Europe and United States who are forced to work on samples available from the earlier outbreaks. While talking to The Associated Press, the scientists said that it is frustrating to develop diagnostic tests, vaccines and drugs in the absence of fresh samples. Little availability of the Zika virus’ samples is obstructing the progress of the study that intends to track the evolution of the virus.
Is Brazilian law posing a problem?
The main problem is that the Brazilian law does not allow its researchers as well as institutes to share technical or genetic material such as Zika virus’ blood samples with scientists from other countries. Director of communicable diseases in the World Health Organization’s regional office, Washington Dr. Marcos Espinel said that sharing of samples is a very delicate issue involving lawyers and legal formalities.
However, he expressed hope that issue can be revolved if the presidents of the two countries discuss it. According to him, the primary role of WHO is to encourage countries to exchange genetic material so that research can progress fast.
Thomas Back is confident of WHO
Contrarily, Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee President said that he was confident of measures taken by WHO and the local organizers to an eliminate outbreak of Zika virus.
A few days back the World Health Organization declared Zika virus outbreak as an international public health emergency. According to WHO officials, the mosquito-borne virus has spread across 23 Central and South American countries and with the Olympics scheduled to begin in six months in Rio de Janeiro, the situation has become more severe.