WSVN — As fears of the mosquito-borne Zika virus spread across the globe. Scientists here in South Florida are on the front lines working to put an end to the outbreak! 7’s Danielle Knox shows us how these top researchers are "Put to the Test."

Inside this lab at the University of Miami, top scientists are working around the clock to put an end to the Zika virus.

Dr. Mario Stevenson, UM Chief of Infectious Diseases: "My approach to this is we have to hit hard and hit early."

Infectious disease experts say the pressure is on them to find out what this mosquito-borne disease can do.

Dr. Mario Stevenson: "We should be concerned. It’s up to scientists to come up with the evidence to support an absolute link between Zika and, for example, microcephaly, which I think is the cause of all of this fear and rightfully so."

Fear over a terrifying condition believed to be causing babies in Brazil to be born deformed and with brain damage.

Dr. Mario Stevenson: "As parents, that strikes a cord when we see infants born with microcephaly."

The link between Zika and microcephaly is still unknown… but Dr. Stevenson says the race to stop this virus becomes more critical as each day passes.

Dr. Mario Stevenson: "First thing is to get the tools we can use to fight it. And by then, we’ll be ready to find a response if indeed Zika is causing microcephaly and other human afflictions."

The team which is working in Miami and Brazil has completed an important first step– developing a test for Zika.

Dr. Mario Stevenson: "We developed it here and we’re using it in Brazil to identify individuals who became infected with Zika and those are the individuals we will obtain the antibodies from."

And those antibodies are what they need to come up with a vaccine.

Dr. Mario Stevenson: "That we can use to stop someone from getting infected or if they are infected to reduce or ameliorate the infection."

The goal… to stop the spread of Zika altogether.    

Dr. Mario Stevenson: "Our job as scientists is to make sure if Zika hits us and becomes a problem here, we’re ready for it."

Dr. Stevenson says a vaccine should be available within a year. For more information on the Zika virus, go to

In the Plex, Danielle Knox, 7News.

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