Sanofi to Work on Zika Vaccine as Health Emergency Declared

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sanofi will work on developing a vaccine against Zika virus, the mosquito-borne pathogen whose explosive spread has touched off a global public health emergency.

The French drugmaker plans to harness its work against dengue fever to attack Zika, a virus from the same family, Sanofi said in a statement on Tuesday. The Paris-based company’s Sanofi Pasteur vaccines unit won approval in December in Brazil and Mexico for the world’s first inoculation against dengue.

Sanofi took two decades to figure out how to thwart dengue. It may take years to produce an effective shot against Zika, which appears to cause birth defects when pregnant women are infected. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. said last week it was testing a potential vaccine in mice. The World Health Organization’s declaration Monday that the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern will allow the United Nations agency to begin coordinating government responses.

“Sanofi Pasteur is responding to the global call to action to develop a Zika vaccine given the disease’s rapid spread and possible medical complications,” said Nicholas Jackson, who heads research for the company’s vaccine unit and will drive the Zika project.

Source: Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, vaccines