Zika virus Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

¿Deberíamos ir a Rio?

PRINCETON – Cuando se seleccionó a Rio de Janeiro como sede de los Juegos Olímpicos de 2016, el virus Zika todavía no había llegado a Brasil. Hoy, después de que se han invertido miles de millones de dólares en su preparación, el estado de Rio de Janeiro es el que posee la segunda mayor cantidad de personas que se sospecha están infectadas con el virus. ¿Habría que posponer los Juegos Olímpicos de Verano de 2016 o realizarlos en otro lugar?

Se trata de una decisión difícil, y los hechos aún no están del todo claros. Por esta razón, el mes pasado fui uno de los 223 científicos, especialistas en bioética y expertos en salud pública firmantes de la carta abierta a Margaret Chan, Directora General de la Organización Mundial de la Salud, en que pedimos convocar un grupo independiente que asesore a la OMS y al Comité Olímpico Internacional en un proceso transparente que pueda aportar la evidencia necesaria para evaluar si compensa alterar un gran evento deportivo internacional en aras de la protección de la salud pública.

El virus Zika no es nuevo, pero la cepa que entró en Brasil en 2013 es más peligrosa que ninguna de sus variantes conocidas. Un estudio publicado en mes pasado en el New England Journal of Medicine ha confirmado que cuando el virus infecta a una mujer embarazada, puede impedir el desarrollo cerebral del feto y causar una rara enfermedad conocida como microcefalia. En los casos más graves, incluso es incompatible con que el bebé pueda llegar a vivir una vida independiente.

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