President Donald Trump’s administration is poised to announce whether to approve a vaccine that the World Health Organization says could help curb the spread of the Zika virus in the U to more than 20 million people.
Trump will hold a Cabinet meeting Wednesday to consider the request, which could be his first major foreign policy decision since he took office last month.
The president will also receive a briefing on the decision from Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the Cabinet meeting, according to a White House official.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations.
The vaccine would target a virus that’s been spreading in South and Central America, and it would work by temporarily preventing the body’s immune system from recognizing new foreign proteins.
The U.s. is already working to develop the vaccine, and the World Trade Organization last week approved the first phase of clinical trials.
The decision could also signal a shift in the direction of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The secretary-general’s top diplomat has repeatedly stressed the need for the United States to take the lead in the fight against the Zika pandemic, a theme that was echoed in his remarks Thursday when he met with President Donald J. Trump at the White House.
The Trump administration has already delayed the start of a global health conference scheduled for next month in Atlanta to consider a vaccine.
The White House is also considering moving the conference from Chicago to another venue, which is a step the U,S.
could take if the vaccine is approved.
The United States is not alone in being considering vaccines for Zika.
The European Union is also looking at whether to take on the Zika vaccine, which it has said is not ready for use in Europe.
Trump is also expected to announce soon that he will nominate retired Gen. John Kelly, the U