Only a select few labs can currently test for Zika and a commercial test would improve the ability of researchers to track the disease’s spread. Ten biotech companies and 10 other companies are at various stages of developing such a test, according to WHO.
“New validated and broadly available diagnostics are urgently needed to step up research, clinical management and surveillance,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general, at a press conference. “Although it is difficult to predict the time for the first commercial and independently validated tests to be available, we are talking weeks and not years.”
Researchers are also developing a Zika vaccine, but they are at least 18 months away, according to Kieny.