timelines.127 In all cases, partnerships formed before the tropical disease
vouchers expanded to cover Ebola and other filoviruses, and economic
resources mobilized before the voucher incentive. In the future, the sponsor
who obtains regulatory approval from the FDA to market an Ebola vaccine
in the United States will be able to collect the voucher reward—either by
using it to speed up review of another drug or by selling it.
The impact of the voucher program on Zika is identical, although the R& D
background is different. Even though the virus was identified in 1947,
science on Zika is significantly less developed than on Ebola.128 Before 2015,
Zika “was not considered to be a major pathogen,” but since the outbreak,
nearly 1,000 scientific publications on the virus have emerged.129 Disease
complexity is not the only factor that has slowed down R& D in this area.
While linked to devastating problems like microcephaly, the virus is not
lethal like Ebola, is not associated with bioterrorism, and before
popularization of air travel was unlikely to spread in a meaningful way
outside endemic areas in the developing world.130
As of early 2017, there are at least 40 entities involved in the development
of a Zika vaccine.131 Some of these companies were or still are also involved
in Ebola R& D.132 Additionally, there is federal funding from the
NIH/NIAID133 and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Department
127. The remaining cases are VesiculoVax, MVA-BN Filo and AdVAdVac, DPX-Ebola,
Novavaxglycoprotein recombinant vaccine, VXA ZEBOV GP, the Rabies Vector vaccine,
Inovio’s Ebola vaccine, the Baculovirus Expression Vector System-derived Ebola vaccine,
GOVX-E301 and GOVX-E302. See William W. Fisher & Katrine Geddes, Learning From
Ebola: How Drug-Development Policy Could Help Stop Outbreaks of Infectious Diseases 17–
26 BERKMAN CTR. FOR INTERNET & SOC’Y, GLOBAL ACCESS IN ACTION (GAiA) (Oct. 14,
2015), https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/tfisher/Learning_from_Ebola.pdf. All of these
vaccines received support from U.S. government agencies, with NIAID funding several
128. See Jeff Lyon, Zika: Worse Than Thalidomide?, 319 JAMA 1246, 1248 (2016)
(discussing the areas on which long-term Zika research is still needed).
129. See Alan D. T. Barrett, Zika Vaccine Candidates Progress through Nonclinical
Development and Enter Clinical Trials, NPJ VACCINES (2016),
130. See Daniel R. Lucey & Lawrence O. Gostin, The Emerging Zika Pandemic –
Enhancing Preparedness, 315 JAMA 865, 866 (2016) (contrasting the transregional
magnitude of the 2015 Zika outbreak with previous outbreaks).
132. See, e.g., Matthew Patane, NewLink Genetics gets $8.1 million flor Ebola vaccine,
DES MOINES REG. (Sept. 25, 2015),
dtra-money/72793540/; See Katie Thomas, The Race for a Zika Vaccine, N. Y. TIMES (Nov.
19, 2016), https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/testing-the-limits-of-biotech-in-
133. See NAT’L INST. OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES, HOW NIAID IS ADDRESSING
ZIKA VIRUS, https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/addressing-zika (last updated Jul.