From West Nile Virus to the emergence of Zika virus
Atwell, Falisha Law
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With the emergence of Zika Virus in the United States, it is crucial to assess the response time of the FDA in providing industry guidance in order to ensure the safety and availability of blood products in the face of a newly emerging infectious disease. Since West Nile Virus and Zika Virus are both vector borne illnesses, this research compares the responsiveness of regulatory agencies to evaluate our preparedness for the next infectious disease threat. The West Nile Virus outbreak in 1999 revealed opportunities for improvements. Corrective actions were implemented; however, we must evaluate whether those actions are effective and efficient. The results of the research show notable differences in the timelines for West Nile and Zika Viruses; the responsiveness is improved for the Zika outbreak. Also, responses to a survey revealed that industry supports the current decisions made by the FDA in response to Zika and overall they are confident about safety and availability of blood products for transfusion. The Zika Virus outbreak has proven that we are more prepared to address future infectious disease threats.