An Indian pharmaceutical firm claims that it has developed the world’s first vaccine against mosquito-borne Zika virus, the News Agency of Nigeria has reported.

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus is photographed on human skin in a lab

The Head of the Biotech International Limited, Dr. Krishna Ella, said at a news conference that it had already filed for a patent for the Zika vaccine.

“On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,” he said.

Ella said the firm, which is based in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh’s capital Hyderabad, had sought the Indian government’s help for carrying out human and animal trials for the two candidate vaccines, which have been developed by its scientists, using a live Zika virus.

The claims came a day after the World Health Organisation said that the Zika virus poses a global public health emergency requiring a united response.

The virus has been linked to cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains.

There have been around 4,000 reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil alone since October.

However, till date, there has been not a single reported case of Zika virus attack in India, though the government was said to have tested a number of samples.

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