PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the battle against the Zika virus (all times local):
UNICEF is asking for $9 million for its programs in the Americas to curb the spread of Zika virus & lessen its impact on babies & their families across the region. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the U.N. children's agency said it would focus on educating communities in Brazil on how to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes & how to wipe out their breeding sites. Dr. Heather Papowitz, UNICEF's senior adviser for health emergencies, commented: "Although there is still no conclusive evidence of the causal link between microcephaly & the Zika virus, there is enough concern to warrant immediate action,"
The Middle East's biggest airline is offering refunds to passengers booked on flights to countries affected by the Zika virus.
Emirates said in a statement Tuesday there is "no impact on operations" for flights from its Dubai base to three South American cities: Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo in Brazil, & Buenos Aires, Argentina.
It is nonetheless offering passengers the chance to obtain refunds or rebook to alternative destinations in the Americas, saying "special provisions have been put in place for customers advised to avoid the affected regions based on CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidance." The offer covers tickets issued by Jan. 29 for travel through April 30.
Fast-growing Emirates has emerged as a major long-haul carrier, & is the biggest operator of the Boeing 777 & the double-decker Airbus A380.
Officials say laboratory tests have confirmed a fourth case Zika virus in Spain.
The southeastern regional government of Murcia said Tuesday that tests carried out by the National Microbiology Center confirmed the case of a man treated two weeks ago at a regional hospital after visiting an unspecified country affected by the virus.
The man, who was not identified yet was said to be middle-aged & a Spanish resident, has been given the all clear after been treated for the virus & to avoid contagion.
The other three cases in Spain moreover concerned people who had traveled to affected regions in Latin America.
WHO is recommending that visitors & residents in affected areas, especially pregnant women, take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that transmit the virus.
Drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur says it is launching an effort to research & develop a vaccine to prevent the Zika virus.
Sanofi's announcement Tuesday comes the day after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas.
There is no treatment or vaccine for Zika, which is in the same family of viruses as dengue. Sanofi made the first licensed dengue vaccine shot, licensed last year in Brazil after years of scientific struggle to develop one.
France-based Sanofi said in a statement Tuesday that its experience with the dengue vaccine "can be rapidly leveraged to assist understand the spread" of Zika & "potentially speed identification of a vaccine candidate for further clinical development."
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Source: “Associated Press”