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Zika Vaccine Won't Be Available Until At Least 2018

National Institutes of Health

  Researchers say a vaccine for the Zika virus will not be available until at least 2018.

And that's with various trials being fast-tracked as the number of people believed to be infected by mosquitoes in Florida climbs.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His agency started injecting people with a test vaccine on Tuesday. The first phase of the trial will end in December and then the second phase, where the vaccine is tested on thousands of people in outbreak areas, may begin in January.

Fauci said it takes time to prove that a vaccine works.

"I would be very, very surprised if anything came out before 2018," he said.

And that's the best-case scenario. Fauci said it could take up to three years or more.

"You don't make vaccines overnight because you have to prove that they are safe and you have to prove that they are effective and the only way you do that is you test that in the setting of an outbreak," Fauci said.

And it takes money to fund that research. Fauci said his agency has been borrowing money from other accounts to fund the research but it needs new money and it needs it quickly.