Scientists announce important Zika milestone: First vaccine ready for human trials
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Since the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency in February, teams of scientists from all over the world have been attacking the virus from many different angles. They have made advances in understanding the structure of the virus, the historical path of the mosquitoes that carry it and the risk to babies still in the womb — important knowledge, but of little immediate practical use.
Now, the discoveries have finally led to something that might be able to stop the pathogen: a vaccine.
Pennsylvania vaccine maker Inovio Pharmaceuticals and South Korea’s GeneOne Life Sciences said Monday that they had received approval from U.S. regulators to start testing a DNA vaccine, known as GLS-5700, on humans. The early-stage study will include 40 healthy subjects. It is primarily designed to assess the safety of the vaccine but will also measure the immune response generated by the injection. Zika, part of the flavivirus family of viruses that includes West Nile, dengue and yellow fever, is believed to be responsible for causing thousands of babies to be born with shrunken heads in Brazil and elsewhere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently detailed the cases of six babies born with the condition in the United States.
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