Zika Virus Re-Emerges as More Serious Global Threat

In Masur, NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci
discusses the Zika virus pandemic as it unfolds.
In Masur, NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci
discusses the Zika virus pandemic as it unfolds.

With apologies to Ben Franklin: Nothing is certain in this world, except death and taxes…and outbreaks.

NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed that sentiment Mar. 18 in Masur Auditorium, quoting an article he wrote in 2008 about emerging infections (and recalled a year or so ago about Ebola): “This is a perpetual challenge that we have to be prepared for because it will come again. It may not come again in this degree of magnitude for who knows how long, but you can be absolutely sure it will come again.”

It has come again, although not yet—and with luck and preparation, not ever—in Ebola magnitude. This time it is the Zika virus.

“The bad news is that we have Zika; the good news is that Zika is a flavivirus and we have a lot of experience with flaviviruses,” said Fauci. “We’ve made vaccines against flaviviruses.”

In a lecture titled “Zika Virus: A Pandemic in Progress,” he told a capacity crowd about the virus’s background, the current outbreak in the Caribbean and Latin America, implications for Zika and the United States, and the role of research and development—diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.

First identified in 1947 in monkeys in the Zika forest in Uganda, Africa, and recognized in 1952 in Nigeria as a virus that can infect humans, Zika re-emerged in 2007 at outbreak levels in Micronesia.

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Edwards Celebrates MLK Legacy, Diversity at NIH

Rep. Donna Edwards
marks the King legacy.
Rep. Donna Edwards marks the King legacy.

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) is too young to have marched in the Civil Rights Movement more than a half century ago, but she says she’s at the perfect age to acknowledge and appreciate the benefits gained in that era.

“I’m kind of in that in-between generation,” she said during her Mar. 8 keynote in Wilson Hall. “It wasn’t my generation that was out on the street demanding civil rights and social justice and voting rights, but I’m of an age where I can remember. I have vivid recollections of listening to Dr. Martin Luther King.”

In an MLK Day salute sponsored by NIH’s chapter of Blacks in Government and postponed from January due to snow, Edwards shared her thoughts on the civil rights leader, his legacy and the responsibilities of the world’s current citizens.

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