Russia develops Zika medicine prototypes

Russian specialists will join international groups to study the virus

Russia has developed prototype medicines, which may prove effective against the Zika virus, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova has said.

"We have developed prototypes, experimental medicines, which have the potential to be very efficient in Zika therapy; we can now think about the development of vaccines," Skvortsova said in an interview with the Russia Today channel.

Russian specialists will join international groups, which will study the virus.

"Today, we have discussed with WHO Director General Margaret Chan, the involvement of leading Russian scientists in the international groups studying the effect of Zika virus mechanisms on particular segments of human nerve tissue. We will soon become engaged in these international groups," she said.

On speaking about the price for the Russian vaccine against the Zika virus, she said it would be at the level of the medicine's prime cost.

"I should say that the prime cost of our vaccine is not very large - I'd rather not disclose the amount because a market is always a market, but, we need to understand that this vaccine is necessary for the prevention of a severe, lethal, epidemic. I think it is amoral to make money in such situations. So, the price will be at the level of the prime cost plus the profitability required for maintaining production," Skvortsova said.

The health minister also said that Russia provided free Ebola vaccines to the first 4,000 people who were inoculated in Guinea.

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