>> Drugmakers have a potential billion dollar reason to be the first to find a way to fight Zika. With plenty of tropical of illnesses inflicting millions every year, pharma companies smell profit in the Zika outbreak for one simple reason. Reuters pharmaceutical correspondent, Bill Berkrot.>> Most of the tropical diseases are in poor countries, they're often in places where people with a lot of money aren't going to be traveling in any great numbers.
This is a different situation because we're in the developed world, wherein, countries that can afford to pay for these kind of treatments. As the CDC keeps telling us, tens of millions of people travel to and from these countries from the US, from Europe, for business, for pleasure. And it's really the traveler market that will be the crux of the potential for this to be a big selling treatment.
>> Industry experts and disease specialists say fear of catching Zika is probable enough to drive these cash-flush, health insured travelers to line up for a Zika shot as soon as it comes to market.>> The fact that it can be transmitted sexually makes it unique from other mosquito borne viruses.
It also increases the risk exponentially. And we've got real fear because this virus has been shown to cause devastating birth defects.>> And there's another group that could propel sales beyond the $1 billion mark. There's talk of pushing a required vaccine for young girls and even boys as a precaution against Zika related birth defects in future pregnancies.
With sales prospects like these, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which is the closest in terms of coming to market and bigger players like Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, all tripping over themselves to get their drug out first. But they all have a lot more work to do. Experts say, a market ready vaccine is at least two years away.